The contract automation landscape for private markets

August 23, 2022

Few technology providers build contract automation solutions with private markets in mind. Because of this, Ontra saw an opportunity in the market and, for the past 8 years, has worked to become the end-to-end contract management solution for private fund managers.

A visual representation of the contract automation landscape for private markets and which businesses fulfill different contract management needs.

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Artificial intelligence in the contract lifecycle for private markets

Natural language processing and machine learning — both forms of AI — have led to great strides in contract automation in recent years. Broadly speaking, contract automation includes technology that reduces manual tasks associated with contracts, from drafting and negotiating agreements to enforcing them.

Given the proliferation of contract automation providers, private fund managers should look closely at which solutions work for them and which are too generic.

Contract creation solutions

Some legal technology tackles a specific aspect of contracting, such as drafting agreements. However, contract creation technology is rarely industry-specific. Instead, the solutions enable any business to upload contract templates or create clause libraries, which employees can use to draft agreements quickly. A few solutions use AI to create contracts from information lawyers gather in a spreadsheet or form.

Ontra differs from other contract drafting solutions in that we take an industry-specific approach. With more than 500,000 contracts processed and the world’s largest database of private equity NDA terms, Ontra enables private fund managers and investment bankers to quickly generate routine contacts by leveraging customized playbooks and our in-depth market knowledge.

AI-assisted contract negotiations

Several service providers have cropped up to provide freelance lawyers for routine contract negotiations. These providers enable organizations to avoid insourcing high-volume agreements or relying on expensive outside law firms.

While most of these legal outsourcing providers market to a wide range of customers, Ontra specializes in negotiating routine contracts for asset managers. We combine AI-driven contract technology with our global legal network, which includes a significant percentage of ex-BigLaw lawyers. We stand out from the crowd with our unique NDA anatomy and deep understanding of AI. Our legal network uses our AI models, which can answer over 95% of NDA-related questions, saving time on each routine agreement.

eSignature providers

Though many asset managers and investment banks utilize eSignature technology, it’s rare for them to have this capability integrated into their contracting solution. Instead, they use it as a separate, ad hoc solution to gather signatures.

Ontra’s Contract Automation for private markets has DocuSign integrated directly into asset management-specific workflows. As a result, our legal partners and customers can execute their agreements entirely through our platform, making the process efficient and user-friendly.

Contract lifecycle management

Drafting, negotiation, workflow, and obligation management features vary from one CLM platform to the next, making some more attractive to asset managers than others. However, while many CLM providers target financial services, they rarely market to asset managers or, more specifically, private markets.

Ontra suite of solutions automates contract management processes associated with fund formation and portfolio investment in private markets. Insight by Ontra provides asset managers with a central location to digitize and store all fund documentation, including Limited Partnership Agreements and side letters, creating a searchable, single source of truth. Most importantly, Insight is intuitive and easy to use because Ontra based it on private asset managers’ needs and workflows.

Contract compliance solutions

Compliance solutions for private markets are rare, and providers often gear their solutions toward regulatory compliance. Few solutions address managing obligations to investors found in fund documentation and side letters.

Ontra built Insight to address the lack of an obligation management solution for private markets. Insight’s features enable private fund managers to proactively track and meet their commitments to investors instead of relying on reactive processes that could lead to non-compliance, disputes, and reputational damage.

An additional benefit of Insight is a comprehensive audit trail that enables private fund managers to quickly provide documentation and cooperate during an SEC exam.

Contract intelligence

With the advent of digitizing contracts comes the ability to turn contract provisions into structured and usable data. Now, more technology providers are building solutions to enable businesses to analyze their data and generate reports.

Private asset managers can use Ontra’s platform to view current and historical contract data. Managers can easily find a provision in an individual contract or generate reports across large document sets, giving them a better perspective of market terms and leverage for future negotiations.

Ontra’s legal operating system for private markets

While there are many CLM and contract automation solutions, most lack the features private markets need. Private fund managers that adopt these generic solutions might not achieve the efficiency and money savings they expect.

A better option is Ontra’s legal operating system for private markets. From AI-enabled contract negotiations to proactive obligation management, private fund managers can improve their contract management workflow, rely less on outside counsel, and enable their internal resources to focus on mission-critical work.

Discover contract automation for private markets

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