Ipro has been a powerhouse in the legal and public sector markets, and in the analysis end of the market, while NetGovern complements this with a strong presence in many verticals and a focus on the upstream part of the market involving collection and preservation of data.
Tempe AZ-based Ipro Tech, which has been laser-focused on the eDiscovery space for almost three decades, has made a significant acquisition in Montreal-based NetGovern, which is in the same space, but with different and complementary characteristics in terms of their market focus, customer base, and Go-to-Market strategy. Ipro sees the acquisition as critical both in broadening out their addressable market, and extending their own direct feet on the street with NetGovern’s strong channel presence.
“In 27 years, this is the best acquisition I’ve ever been a part of in terms of how complementary the companies are,” said Dean Brown, Ipro’s CEO.
Ipro has historically had a very strong vertical focus, around law firms, government, and legal service providers.
“We are best of breed in that we’ve done noting but focus on eDiscovery,” Brown said, noting that larger software vendors who offer eDiscovery do so as an ancillary add-on to their core offerings. “We focused on scale first, and can operate at petabyte scale from the 10th to the 15th power. The U.S. Justice Department is a big customer of ours. They need massive scalability to take terabytes of data and reduce them down to human scale, while using advanced analytics to get real command of their data.”
Brown indicated that demand in the legal space around eDiscovery, risk and compliance continues to grow, because of the cost of litigation in the U.S., and now because of the heavy GDPR fines coming out of the EU and the growth of similar legislation in the U.S and elsewhere.
“Customers approach us because of the issues of scale, and the way we can handle data and the risks associated with it at scale,” he said. “In the last couple of years, we have also focused on ease of use.”
Brown strongly emphasized the multiple planes on which Ipro and NetGovern complement each other. The two companies already had a strategic relationship because of this.
“We started talking to NetGovern in the middle of the year last year, and announced our partnership early this year, in January,” he said.
Brown explained how the two companies cover the two sides of the EDRM [Electronic Discovery Reference Model] framework that defines standards for the recovery and discovery and of digital data. The left hand side of that spectrum involves the collection and preservation of the data, while the right side, where Ipro has operated, focuses on analysis and presentation
“Ipro has historically started at the point of understanding what’s in the data, but customers have been asking us if we can also move upstream,” Brown said. “NetGovern has focused on the left side of that spectrum. They started as an email migration and archiving tool and created best of breed indexing and search capabilities. They have tremendous connectors to data sources as well. We come together in the middle of the EDRM spectrum.”
The two companies’ customer bases have also been very different, and so combined greatly expand Ipro’s addressable market.
“Our focus has been on legal service providers and government,” Brown said. “We have some marquee corporate names like PayPal, but we haven’t focused on that. They have, as well as having a focus on government. There’s really no one else in the market who we are not able to serve now.” Verticals in which NetGovern has major customers include public sector, financial services, manufacturing, and transportation.
NetGovern also brings a strong channel to Ipro’s model, which has been mainly direct.
“Primarily, we sell through our own feet on the street,” Brown noted. “We have had a channel approach through legal service providers, but our channel has been limited outside of that. NetGovern has had a very small sales and marketing force and is channel-focused. Our combination with the lets us take their expertise in channel partners and continue to expand that. We can also take our 20-25 salespeople and drastically expand their small sales team. That’s another great synergy.”
Brown also stressed that the technology integration here will be an easy one.
“Ive been in ones that had two-year integration death marches,” he said. “Here, we are both open architectures with API calls. We aren’t looking at massive long-term integration issues, and our partnership has already begun moving data seamlessly through the process.”
Finally, Brown highlighted the high value of the human capital they are acquiring.
“The team in Montreal has tremendous depth of knowledge, tremendous human capital,” he said. “I’m excited about expanding that Montreal office. All of the key executives from NetGovern have rolled into key roles in our organization. In this respect, this makes this more like a merger.” Pierre Chamberland, NetGovern’s founder and CEO, will become Ipro’s Chief Innovation Officer.