Raising large private investment rounds is something of an anomaly in the world of e-discovery software, due to the relative maturity of many of the players and the somewhat modest total addressable market – at least compared to some other enterprise software segments. When kCura, maker of the SaaS-based Relativity e-discovery suite, announced in February 2015 that it had raised a $125m funding round, eyebrows were raised. It also dropped the biggest hint yet that kCura’s ambitions extend well beyond e-discovery. But first it needs to tackle the corporate market to add to its dominance of the law-firm and litigation-support markets.
Chicago-based kCura’s funding round was, we believe, the largest single round by any e-discovery software firm by some margin. All the money came from Iconiq Capital, a company that manages the personal wealth of some of Silicon Valley’s most successful luminaries, including Mark Zuckerburg, Sheryl Sandberg, Reid Hoffman and Jack Dorsey. KCura said it didn’t need the money and is profitable, and it hasn’t discussed any specifics in terms of what it plans to do with the cash.
But from our conversations with the company and knowledge of the market, the money will help it push into the corporate e-discovery space and try to dominate that in the way it has dominated the law-firm and the litigation-support service-provider markets. That’s a much harder thing to do given the scale and diversity of the corporate market. So, the money will help in getting the message across and developing new kinds of go to market strategies and sales models. As the company points out, it has always talked about Relativity as a platform to analyze large volumes of unstructured data; e-discovery just happened to be the most obvious use case and one it will continue to pursue alongside any new forays.
Relativity is now on version 9.3. The company does two major releases a year with small monthly iterations. New features with this version include improved data collection with more automation, a so-called reimagined search engine, improved data analytics and more user interface enhancements.
KCura regularly updates its customer and user count and the latest figures through the end of November show 131,138 users, 87,886 active cases and 60.26 billion files under management in Relativity. That compares to 108,918 users, 56,429 cases and 41 billion at the end of 2014.
Relativity customers typically sign three-year term licenses. Customers get – in addition to the software – 24/7 technical support, as well as consulting and workflow advice from kCura’s team of experts. As of September, Data Grid and processing are now included in any new license; existing customers part-way through their licenses need to sign a new one to take advantage of Data Grid and Processing. Some 77% of Relativity sales are made through its extensive network of legal and other service providers, with the rest sold to law firms.