Scott Sage
Aug 6 · 3 min read

We are excited to finally announce two pieces of news for the legal and AI communities today. The first is our investment in ThoughtRiver and second is ThoughtRiver’s announcement around the public release of Lexible, their contract description framework, and the Lexible partner ecosystem.

ThoughtRiver epitomises our investing hypothesis in several ways — a product built by a team with a visceral understanding of the problem that introduces automation and intelligence into a significant enterprise work stream; that leverages data to deliver material value to customers and is only possible because of the hyper trends in computing, software, data and machine intelligence we are experiencing today. It also has an open source component to it — which we are big believers in too.

ThoughtRiver is a legal automation company using NLP to help lawyers at large companies and law firms thoroughly review all of their contracts. ThoughtRiver calls this new automated workflow “Intelligent Contract Pre-Screening” — and they do this through their proprietary AI processing engine called Fathom and a unique (and soon to be open sourced) underlying legal framework called Lexible. It is often impossible to review every word in a contract, let alone every contract. Often times certain contracts are never even reviewed at all due to increased workloads within GC’s offices with current review processes often poor and prone to material errors and oversight.

ThoughtRiver works by highlighting to lawyers which contracts and/or specifically, which parts of a contract, to review, and recommendations on how to fix issues. Their unique ability to do so is a function of combining Fathom, their AI engine, with Lexible, a new digital contract language — a first in this market — which has the potential to become the standard that truly enables digital contracts to work at scale, in the same way that HTML helped to standardise the internet.

It is now possible to partner with ThoughtRiver on developing Lexible (check out their Partnership page).

Lexible is an ontology of meaning-based properties, espoused as legal questions that together encapsulate the complex legal logic and relationships present in an agreement. It includes thousands of individual questions developed initially by ThoughtRiver and now their partners — who are also legal domain experts, law firms and law schools for example.

Lawyers have been slow to adopt intelligent software, but this is changing at a very rapid pace. ThoughtRiver has demonstrated the value of their technology with dozens of organisations who are using their software to review contracts at scale. It is now possible for any lawyer or commercial domain expert to extend their own area of Lexible to create new IP and deliver contract review services to clients. ThoughtRiver already has Lexible partners providing services to clients across several verticals including insurance and finance. This partnership model allows law firms for example to create entirely new revenue streams for their business, an attractive prospect for many of them in the light of new pressures from ALSP’s and the Big Four.

Digitising the World’s Contracts

We are also thrilled to announce that we have co-led a $4m round in ThoughtRiver alongside LocalGlobe to enable ThoughtRiver to double down on their engineering and AI efforts, expand the commercial team in the UK and launch in the US and Singapore. The team is growing aggressively and looking for engineering, product and sales talent if you’re interested in creating a new category of software. We look forward to our continued partnership with one of Europe’s most exciting intelligent enterprise software companies.

Crane — Taking Flight

Building European Software Champions

Scott Sage

Written by

Co-founder & Partner @crane_vc — @tessian @onfido @OpenSensors @thoughtriver @avora @senseontech. Texan in London. Drummer.

Crane — Taking Flight

Building European Software Champions

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