In 2013, Haley Altman sat in her office after midnight surrounded by hundreds of documents, looking for the one needed to close a $30 million-dollar deal.
Altman had spent 10 years working as a transactional lawyer, helping venture capital firms and businesses with funding, acquisitions and initial public offerings.
At that moment, she decided what her profession really needed was technology that helped lawyers digitize all their documents, allow for e-signatures, smooth out business transactions — and ditch the mounds of paper.
But she couldn’t find anything that did the job.
“I took the next step on trying to build it on my own,” Altman said.
In 2016, Altman co-founded Doxly, a legal transaction management platform. Features include e-signatures, closing checklists and centralized data rooms for clients to follow the steps needed to close a transaction and expand their business.
Transactional attorneys usually rely on countless Word documents and PDF signature pages as part of the process to close a deal. Printed checklists, phone calls and emails are administrative tasks that attorneys have called an extremely time-consuming process.
“We were sitting there surrounded by paper and realizing that we didn’t have the tools that allowed us to know that these pieces, that were really more administrative, were done,” Altman said.
Doxly is now streamlining the administrative tasks into one platform with checklists, transaction reports and automated electronic signature collection. A large transaction involving private equity or mergers and acquisitions could take lawyers between 100 and 200 hours, but Doxly reduces the allotted time by assembling the administrative process into the software.
The platform is integrated with technologies such as Box and DocuSign for electronic signature collection to digitize closing books.Altman’s passion for helping companies grow started at DePauw University, where she majored in chemistry and political science. At first, she dreamed of being a doctor, but after working as an intern at the Indiana Hospital Association, she was introduced to the world of lobbying and the ways in which lawyers can help a company thrive.
Altman’s passion for helping companies grow started at DePauw University, where she majored in chemistry and political science. At first, she dreamed of being a doctor, but after working as an intern at the Indiana Hospital Association, she was introduced to the world of lobbying and the ways in which lawyers can help a company thrive.
“There are so many different ways to bring lifesaving technology to life, and one of those ways is to actually work with the companies that are trying to kind of advance these different technologies and devices,” she said.
Altman decided to attend Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, and after graduating she worked in government relations at Ice Miller LLP, a law firm headquartered in Indianapolis. She provided legal counsel to life science companies exploring ways to get funding and become larger.
As a transactional attorney, she represented emerging growth companies, venture capital firms and strategic investors. Altman also represented acquiring and selling companies in merger and acquisition transactions, with deals ranging from $5 million to more than $800 million.
Altman worked for other transactional law firms, including Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati on the West Coast.
After a decade practicing as a transactional attorney, everything still depended on that one last signature she couldn’t find among the hundreds of stacks of papers coming out of every deal.
“What I realized is there’s so much stuff of being a lawyer that distracts us from doing what we love, those true legal paths of negotiating a large transaction or advising clients on how to grow their business,” she said.
Altman pitched the idea of building technology to target the legal industry to High Alpha, an Indianapolis venture studio that creates and funds companies, in 2015. Partners decided to launch Doxly from High Alpha in March 2016, but Altman had just made equity partner at Ice Miller two months before.
“I had to decide whether I wanted to leave and become the CEO of the company that I’ve been thinking about and working on for such a long time,” she said.
She decided to leave the legal world for the tech industry, and her team launched Doxly in July 2016. In a year, Doxly has raised $2.8 million in funding and has 13 full-time employees to help lawyers engage with clients and promote transparency.
Eric Goodman, who is both a client of and lawyer for Doxly as equity partner at Ice Miller, said that the logistics of drafting documents, collecting signatures of different parties, phone calls and emails are often the tasks of younger attorneys.
“There are younger attorneys, especially in larger firms in the major market cities, that spend their first several years of practice basically just organizing signature pages, closing documents and folders and doing the mundane routine tasks that are involved in a transactional practice,” he said.
Goodman said that Doxly could save lawyers somewhere between four to 20 or more hours on deals. It is increasingly valuable to clients and attorneys who could be working on other projects or be with their families instead of doing administrative tasks, he said.
Goodman said lawyers are getting their timelines compressed. About seven years ago, typical deal cycles took 60 to 90 days. Now, they usually run from 30 to 60 days, opening the door for efficient technology that can streamline the process.
As a woman in the male-dominated tech industry, Altman said she has not felt that her gender has impeded her career.
“I think the hardest part for me is just not worrying about that from a personal perspective of how someone’s perceiving something,” she said. “I think you can mitigate any impression that someone might have of you and your gender by coming in and being confident and knowing the answers.”
Goodman, who has known Altman for years, said that she will most likely be a role model for others as she breaks a new ground with Doxly.
“I can’t tell you it’s going to result in 10 percent more tech companies in Indianapolis started by women, but I do think that the more women see this as a viable opportunity and a path that is open to them, hopefully you start seeing more women and minorities pursuing that path.”
Job: CEO of Doxly Inc., a cloud-based platform that automates the workflow of legal documents and processes needed to close business deals.
Advice: “I think you can mitigate any impression that someone might have of you and your gender by coming in and being confident and knowing the answers.”
This story was published at The Indianapolis Star Sept. 7, 2017.