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Partner quits to build M&A management tool
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Partner quits to build M&A management tool

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A former corporate partner at CBP Lawyers has left his job to launch a start-up business that could change transaction handling.

Founder of Thedocyard Stuart Clout (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly: “There really is nothing else like this. Thedocyard is software as a service, not just a website, and has very powerful, bespoke tools and functions designed for corporate deal-making.”

Thedocyard systemises deal completion through an online workspace that can be securely accessed by the people involved.

The project management software includes personal checklists, condition precedents and document-matching applications.

The common workspace facilitates stakeholder collaboration, while escrow payment allows deals to auto-complete.

“I tried to use the latest project management programs to run corporate deals on my journey to discovering the need for Thedocyard – for example, I used Podio, which is a very popular IT project management program and it just did not work,” Mr Clout said.

“It had none of the tools and functions I needed … so I realised simple project management programs were not deep or sophisticated enough.”

Other lawyers use “little tricks” to keep on top of all the detail during a corporate deal but “often this is no more reliable than a hand-scrawled list or a dodgy spreadsheet we’ve cobbled together”.

“Thedocyard replaces these iffy methods with a safe process. An automated system means less stress for the lawyer and a better result for the client.”

Potential users include professional advisers, including bankers and brokers, but lawyers are Mr Clout’s first target. The company is flexible on pricing, offering a pay-as-you-go system.

CP headaches

One of the most complex parts of any transaction are the conditions precedents (CPs), which are issues that must be satisfied before a contract can complete. The number of CPs in a large transaction can be well over 100.

“When lawyers go to complete deals they have a checklist of all the CPs and the game/stress is to make sure all are satisfied on time and ready for the target completion date,” Mr Clout said.

 “I used to use sticky notes on the screen, dodgy homemade spreadsheets and hand-scrawled lists to stop me missing CPs and to try to keep my deals on track. I always figured there was a better way – now there is.”

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