Start of the week: Easy drawing of legal contracts with Henchmen

You are not writing a contract for literary pleasure, it should be correct and accurate above all else. This means that a lawyer will constantly return to the same definitions or clauses. With an AI-driven platform, Gent-Start-up Henchman offers them a way to do that more efficiently.

Every lawyer has to deal with it, but the staff Law firms Well done. They have to negotiate and make complex deals. It often comes down to looking for precedents, as practice shows, says Henchman co-founder Bjorn Vanisacker. ‘They look for definitions and clauses in previous contracts, which means they can quickly find themselves scrolling through folders and files until they find what they’re looking for.’

That would be great, says one of the startup founders. ‘Especially when you know that all those big law firms are sitting on mountains of data,’ Vansacker continues. But they didn’t structure it, or in some cases didn’t organize it. We want to provide an answer to this with a cloud-based SaaS platform. We are compatible with nearly all major database programs and about 85 percent of specialized legal data software or document management systems. In other words, we can store all the data we can imagine mine.’

That process happens in the background and can take hours to days depending on the amount of information. But once that’s done, a lawyer can run simple searches on a specific clause or definition he wants to use again.

Outbound sales

Henchman is language agnostic, so anyone with a database in Dutch can search it in Dutch. It applies to any language. In this way, the site has already found users in fifteen countries, with about a hundred paying customers. ‘Initially we didn’t look for it ourselves,’ says the founder. ‘To date, half of all new customers find us through our website.’

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But still Outbound sales Should gain more importance in the future. Vanisakar: ‘In particular we want to focus on the US and the UK where we are already there. Dedicated teams are active. In addition, we want to continuously develop our tool so that user-friendliness is optimized. For this purpose, we organize discussions with end users every quarter so that we stay as close as possible to their expectations.

At the same time, Henchman tries to integrate the most suitable new technology. ‘For example, with GPT-3 we work to quickly develop a clause and adapt it to the specific context of a particular contract. For example, the singular can be changed to the plural at the push of a button.’

Business angels

Henchman’s ambitions are sky-high, but it’s already filled the greenhouse. The pre-seed round received one million euros in seed capital, after which the VC fund Pitchdrive (Lorenz Bogaert et al.), among others, advanced another two million. Last week, the company was able to announce its Series A round, which included American Adjacent and German Acton Capital.

Various business angels have also joined as current partners, including Louis Jonquier, Peter John Boughton and Hendrik Ispart van Shobed, Felix van de Maele (Colibra), Bram Gouver (partner at US law firm Cooley) and Coen Christiansen (founder Raidoo). A little more invested, and a grant from VLAIO and family investment firm F3 Finance rounded out the financing. All together for 6.5 million Euros,’ concludes Vanisacker. ‘Through this we want to further realize our growth.’

Ferdinand Woolridge

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