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Onit acquires legal spend intelligence company Bodhala

3 minute read

REUTERS/Henry Romero

  • Onit has added SimpleLegal, AXDRAFT and McCarthyFinch since 2019
  • Bodhala uses AI to help corporate legal teams analyze spend

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(Reuters) - Onit Inc has scooped up legal spend analytics company Bodhala, marking the company's third acquisition in less than a year.

Houston-based Onit, an enterprise legal management software provider, said on Wednesday the deal aims to boost offerings for its corporate legal department customers. New York-based Bodhala uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help legal departments save money and time in choosing outside counsel.

Founded in 2011, Onit's provides tools to manage a legal department's operations, handle contracts and automate workflow.

With the Bodhala acquisition, Onit is "leading the next wave of innovation, which is bringing intelligence and AI to the legal function, most specifically, the management of legal matters," said Eric Elfman, Onit's CEO and co-founder.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, which comes as startups and more established companies in the legal tech sector continue to make big announcements with new mergers and acquisitions, financing rounds and public market debuts.

Bodhala will operate as an independent subsidiary of Onit, maintaining its brand. That is similar to two of Onit's other recent purchases – SimpleLegal Inc and AXDRAFT Inc. The company acquired legal operations platform SimpleLegal in May 2019 and document automation company AXDRAFT in December 2020, both of which are standalone entities. Onit also acquired AI company McCarthyFinch in November 2020.

"We continue to build and grow organically, and increasingly we're looking to other innovators to augment what we're doing," Elfman said. The company has 550 legal department customers, he said, and "we're always looking for ways to bring more features, more functions, more capability to that group."

Customers include Archer Daniels Midland Co, British telecom company BT Group Plc and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc.

Instead of buying older companies for their customer base, Onit is interested in "innovative, high-growth, young companies, specifically for their technology," Elfman said. Onit will continue to make acquisitions, he said, noting he anticipates one or two more this year.

As for Bodhala, Elfman said Onit has been trying to buy the company for two years. Bodhala CEO and co-founder Raj Goyle said that while the company initially wanted to grow on its own, now it is "the right thing to combine."

Bodhala, which was founded in 2014, secured a $10 million Series A investment led by growth capital firm Edison Partners in April 2020. Goyle, who previously served as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, founded the company in 2014 with Ketan Jhaveri, a former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett antitrust lawyer. Goyle declined to name specific customers but said the company has customers in the financial services sector.

Read more:

VCs expand bet on legal ops with LawVu funding round

Legal tech dealmaking continues as Litera scoops up Kira Systems

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

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