Doxly Aims to Help Lawyers Manage Transactions Via the Cloud

In 2012, Haley Altman was a rising star at Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller and one of its youngest partners when a frustrating session at the office awakened her inner entrepreneur.

It was late one night, when she was working feverishly in her office surrounded by unending stacks of paper, that the idea for her company, Doxly, was born. She was rifling through hundreds of documents, looking for a missing page with a signature. She remembers seeing her career flash before her eyes as she wondered if one stupid piece of paper would tank a $32 million deal and her job along with it.

“I was just sitting in this room full of folders, thinking, ‘Why do we do it this way? And how can we do it differently?”

She realized that she was thinking like one of the tech startup founders she’d come to know in a former job. At one point in her 10-year law career, she had spent a stint at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a storied firm that has worked on some of the biggest initial public offerings in Silicon Valley, including Apple’s.

“It was exciting to see how tech companies grew and how they became incorporated into people’s lives,” she recalled. So when she relocated from the Bay Area back to Indiana, she carried those experiences with her and began looking at the legal profession through the lens of an innovator.

Not long after her late-night struggle with the mountain of case files, Altman hit upon the idea behind her company, which just went live on Monday. She described Doxly as an “end-to-end legal transaction management platform, from diligence to execution.” The cloud-based software offers workflow and collaboration tools that are accessible by clients and their attorneys, as well as opposing counsel.

“The goal is to communicate and understand where everything is so when you get to the end and you’re ready to execute, you know where all the documents and signatures are,” Altman explained. “It’s a tool for enhanced collaboration to get deals done.”

Doxly is a bit like customer relationship management software for lawyers, she said. Although the company’s initial focus is on the legal profession, Altman hopes to one day expand Doxly to include features for commercial real estate and other industries that are heavy on contracts and negotiation.

“We want to be able to provide data and analytics, where you can quickly look up deals, manage the practice, and see which staff members are active based on their strengths when a new deal comes in,” Altman said. “I wanted to lay the foundation of tools customized for the legal profession, starting with transaction management.”

Altman said Doxly’s software will be sold as a service, with different rates depending on the size of the law firm. The five-person Doxly team is undecided about whether it will eventually pursue further outside investment.

To launch, Doxly partnered with High Alpha, the Indianapolis venture firm that focuses on nurturing startups with cloud-based technologies. High Alpha offers more in the way of startup acceleration services than most VCs, including what it calls Sprint Week, a four-day “business design exercise” where teams of VCs work with a potential portfolio startup to build a minimum viable business.

“During that week, we signed up four paid customers for yearlong agreements, and we didn’t even have the product yet,” she said. (High Alpha is an investor, and Doxly is now a High Alpha portfolio company.) “We get human resources services, marketing and public relations help, tech support, and we’re in constant communication with [the fund’s] partners. It helps us move fast.”

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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