Thedocyard's CEO Stuart Clout to share his story at Startup Stories in Newcastle on August 23

RISKY BUSINESS: "Deals are fast moving, organic undertakings which change direction quickly. Without the right tools, you waste time chasing your tail," says Stuart Clout.

RISKY BUSINESS: "Deals are fast moving, organic undertakings which change direction quickly. Without the right tools, you waste time chasing your tail," says Stuart Clout.

 Where were you raised and who influenced your career in your youth?

During my formative years I lived all over the Newcastle region. As a young lawyer, I was heavily influenced (read challenged) by my first few supervising partners who taught me the importance of finding and solving the client’s problem, and not focusing on black letter law – unsurprisingly then, I have always been far more interested in helping people and business improve, than having my head stuck in technicalities or trying to win points in an argument. A pragmatic approach to issues and an authentic interest in people’s stories and desired outcomes tended to attract a lot of clients, and ironically is what ultimately led me to the realisation I could have greater impact by solving problems at a macro level for legal services, not just at a micro level for individual clients.

We have gone into the lion’s den of some of the smartest, toughest and demanding deal advisors at leading global firms and come out with converted customers.

Stuart Clout

 What did you specialise in in law and how did it influence your decision to start The Docyard?

Corporate law, specifically transactional work for clients on mergers, acquisitions, and equity capital markets matters. It was from the experience working on and running these types of deals that thedocyard was born. A ubiquitous issue for corporate deal advisors is pressure from clients to restrict fees in the context of ever increasingly demanding and complex deals – it became clear to me that the only solution was to find efficiency in the process. Globally, the methods, tools and practices used by lawyers and bankers to execute their client’s deals are manual, analogue and disconnected and therein was my opportunity – to deliver a technology to legal and financial services that digitised and automated corporate transactions.

You started thedocyard.com in January 2015. Your slogan is “All about the deal”. What does it do?

We digitise and automate corporate transactions meaning those deals can be done faster and cheaper than they have in the past. We take manual workflows used today, digitise and automate them. 

Does your platform adapt to fit all technologies in processing deals?

Yes, as a pure cloud platform, we have a high degree of integration capability into existing tools and technologies that our customers are using already in their business, and on their deals.

Your core services?

We offer a software as a service (cloud) platform, which our customers pay to use on their deals. Typically, our customers are lawyers, investment bankers, accountants, corporate finance advisors – that is, people who work on and run corporate deals for their clients. The types of deals vary wildly from business sales, mergers and acquisitions, equity and capital markets, real estate, outsourcing, banking (debt) etc. Where a company or fund is buying something, selling something or raising money there is a deal to be done, and it can be done on thedocyard faster and cheaper that it is done today.

Who are your clients?  

Our smallest customer is a sole practitioner lawyer in Perth, our largest is the third biggest law firm in the world. We also have global companies, investment banks and accounting firms through to boutique law firms and corporate advisors using our technology.  

 What is your point of difference as a company?

Our technology is extremely practical, easy to use and applies directly to things people are doing at their desk today. We are a down to earth, pragmatic and super useful tool for deal makers that they can start to use immediately to improve how they run their deals.

Biggest challenges in negotiating complex deals?

Efficiency and risk. Deals are fast moving, highly organic undertakings which change direction quickly. Without the right tools to keep up, you waste time chasing your tail and are very likely to miss things introducing both inefficiency and risk, neither of which are welcome on a deal.

 How have you monetised your platform?

  As a cloud service, we offer paid subscriptions to thedocyard, which is our commercial model.

The biggest challenge?

Helping our customers to digitally transform their businesses and ways of working, particularly considering we sell our service into law and banking which has traditionally avoided digitisation.

Your biggest wins?

Being selected as the deal technology of choice for some of the world’s leading advisory firms across law and corporate finance has been immense – we have gone into the lion’s den of some of the smartest, toughest and demanding deal advisors at leading global firms and come out with converted and loyal customers who are moulding the future of their deals around our technology.

 Biggest ambition for the company?

To be the common platform of choice for the world’s deal makers. We believe we can become the gold standard in deal workflow, automation and analytics around the world.

Stuart will address Startup Stories at I2N Hub Hunter Street in Newcastle on August 23. Registrations at Eventbrite.