11:27, May 24 498 0

2017-05-24 11:27:06
Post-merger CMS picks up RAVN acquisition by iManage

One of the best known provider of artificial intelligence (AI) services, UK-headquartered RAVN Systems, has been acquired by US document management specialist iManage.

A CMS team led by partner Anthony Waller advised RAVN on the sale. Waller was formerly head of technology at Olswang, which merged with CMS earlier this month in a three-way deal with Nabarro.

Reed Smith partners Siddesh Bale and James Cross advised iManage.

The US company says the deal will “revolutionise the way companies find, extract and act on key information from documents and emails”.

RAVN’s technology reads, interprets and extracts information from documents and then converts this unstructured data into structured output in a fraction of the time it would take a human.

It was most recently in the headlines when the Serious Fraud Office used it in its investigation of allegations of bribery at Rolls Royce, where it helped a team of investigators sift through some 30 million documents. RAVN processed 600,000 documents per day, allowing investigators to save many months of work.

RAVN, along with other AI providers, has seen significant growth over the past couple of years with a growing roster of UK firms and major clients adopting its services. It was the technology provider in the UK legal market’s first confirmed use of AI in October 2015, when Berwin Leighton Paisner begun using the software in its real estate and commercial group.

More recently Travers Smith, adopted RAVN’s AI technology as did Linklaters, which last May became the first magic circle firm to sign a deal with the technology provider.

“We have been using RAVN over the past seven months to analyse global supplier agreements,” said Horia Selegean, head of revenue and margin assurance at BT. “We anticipate cost savings of tens of millions of pounds every year through discovering contract optimisations and synergies.”

Reed Smith is another user of RAVN’s technology. The firm’s chief knowledge officer Lucy Dillon said the firm had used RAVN to report on multiple leases, extracting data for real estate due diligence.

“RAVN vastly sped up the mundane manual process, identified several items that were missed in the manual review and returned high quality data,” added Dillon. “The iManage acquisition of RAVN will allow us to apply AI to not only contract analysis but also thousands of high-value legal documents that reside within iManage.”

Peter Wallqvist, the co-founder of RAVN Systems, said that from the company’s inception, the entire RAVN team had been motivated to “bring the power of AI to practical problems at scale”.

“Joining iManage will make it easier to adopt our technology and grant us access to additional resources, new channels to market and direct access to over 3,000 iManage organisations worldwide,” added Wallqvist. “Our existing customers, many of whom also use iManage, will benefit from improved capabilities, iManage global support and accelerated investment to deliver new, high-value content aware solutions.”

Neil Araujo, iManage CEO, said the company was “constantly looking for opportunities to drive significant productivity gains for our customers” and had looked closely at AI technology.

“RAVN has bridged the gap between the potential of AI and its application to real-world business problems,” added Araujo. “Together we will accelerate the adoption of practical AI solutions across the legal and corporate markets.”

Nick West, the chief strategy officer at Mishcon de Reya, said it was “kind of obvious” why the deal works for both parties.

“Every law firm tries to get its lawyers to put their data onto the DMS, it’s the record of truth, where data resides,” said West. “So having the convenience of being able to run RAVN in the place where the data resides makes it much easier, it means you don’t have to pull it into another database. And if you’re RAVN you’re getting access to lots of data that will improve your machine learning technology. You can see why this deal looks smart.”

West added that the deal could also signal the start of a wave of consolidation among providers of AI technology.

“Then the question becomes, ‘who’s next’?” said West. “You can see the ambition of the iManage team to be the undisputed leader and get a piece of the AI market. It makes them stand out as someone at front of the market.”