A guide to document processing for private markets

March 1, 2023

Ontra is the leading provider of document processing for private markets. Let’s look at what that entails and the benefits of our Contract Automation solution.

What is document processing?

Document processing entails converting documents, whether in hard copy or electronic format, into a digital format that allows businesses to gather and analyze structured data.

While companies have moved away from paper documents for years, many still rely on electronic formats, such as individual PDFs, which are static in nature and don’t let the organization efficiently gather, search, analyze, and review contract-related data.

Ontra excels at processing routine contracts, like non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) Our Contract Automation solution helps investment managers speed up negotiations while also gathering the data within their contracts in a structured format, enabling them to generate reports that can influence future negotiations and business decisions.

What is intelligent document processing?

Document processing has evolved significantly from predominantly human-led efforts to technology-driven solutions. Modern document processing uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation, natural language processing (NLP), optical character recognition, or a combination of these tools to automate the process and require less human oversight. The most advanced of these solutions are called intelligent document processing, which offer features beyond basic data capture. Some intelligent document processing solutions analyze, summarize, and classify text with varying degrees of accuracy.

While Ontra takes full advantage of current AI capabilities in our document processing platform, including an integration with OpenAI’s GPT-4, we believe in complementing AI technology with professional experience in what we call a human-in-the-loop (HITL) solution. Ontra’s HITL intelligent document processing solution involves a global network of independent law firms that confirm or revise our algorithm’s suggestions, creating a feedback loop to ensure consistency and accuracy — something that isn’t possible with purely automated, AI document processing.

Contract Automation by Ontra

Enterprises wanting to digitize documents might initially research off-the-shelf document processing software. However, the features of these solutions vary significantly, aren’t customizable, and aren’t tailored to complex private fund documentation.

Private fund managers and investment banks that want to streamline their routine contracts and take advantage of their contract data benefit from an industry-specific solution.

Contract Automation by Ontra optimizes routine contract creation for asset management firms.

How does document processing at Ontra work?

Private markets customers that process contracts through Ontra can submit new agreements through our app. From there, an Ontra legal network member negotiates the agreement based on the customer’s digital contract playbook, a defined set of preferred negotiation positions. The legal network member turns around the initial markup within 24 hours of receiving the contract.

When the parties finalize the agreement, the customer can execute the contract via Ontra’s DocuSign integration. All contracts are automatically stored in Ontra’s Contract Automation platform, providing the customer with a secure contract repository.

Ontra’s AI engine summarizes and organizes contract data quickly, which customers can access via the dashboard functionality. Customers can view their key terms aggregated into easy-to-reference reports, which they can customize to identify precedent and view trends over time.

Use cases for document processing in financial services

Ontra processes documents for:

  • Private Equity
  • Real Estate
  • Infrastructure
  • Direct Lending
  • Investment Banking
  • Venture Capital
  • Law Firms
  • Hedge Funds

Examples of documents processed:

  • Buy-side NDAs
  • Sell-side NDAs
  • Vendor contracts
  • Joinders
  • Engagement letters
  • Reliance letters
  • Non-reliance letters

Ontra has in-depth experience with private fund documents and is the market leader in negotiating NDAs. Professionals in our global legal network have processed one million legal documents since we launched Contract Automation.

NDA processing

Private equity NDAs are an essential step in the deal process. However, to busy in-house deal and legal professionals, NDAs often feel like hurdles that slow dealmaking. In fact, according to a 2022 survey by Ontra and Wakefield Research, 58% of asset managers said their firm’s NDA process hurt their ability to close a deal in the past year.

That struggle isn’t necessary. NDA outsourcing with Ontra can improve a firm’s turnaround time through a combination of automation and an experienced legal network. Learn how Fir Tree Partners, a New York-based private investment firm, saw a drastic reduction in NDA turnaround times with Ontra. Fir Tree’s initial success with NDAs led the firm to streamline its vendor contracts through Ontra as well.

See how Fir Tree Partners leveraged NDA processing

What are the benefits of document processing for private markets?

Contract processing by Ontra:

  • Streamlines routine contract workflows
  • Frees up internal staff to focus on mission-critical work, including fundraising and investing
  • Reduces the time spent negotiating routine agreements
  • Negotiates stronger and more consistent outcomes based on customer precedent & industry benchmarks
  • Reduces reliance and legal spend on outside counsel
  • Unlocks data-driven insights that improve future negotiation outcomes
  • Improves scalability for growing firms

Getting started with Contract Automation by Ontra

Fear of a challenging and slow onboarding process often holds firms back from pursuing a document processing solution. To tackle this hurdle, Ontra provides white-glove account management and an effortless onboarding experience.

Ontra’s Account Management team consists of industry veterans with experience in structuring and negotiating contracts for private markets. A dedicated account manager partners with each customer to develop a negotiation playbook that satisfies the customer’s unique needs, whether the customer prefers on- or off-market terms. The account manager and our Legal Network team carefully match the customer to experienced legal network members who will lead the contract negotiations and data collection.

Our goal is to ensure our Contract Automation customers experience the maximum impact of the solution with minimal disruption to the business and deal team.

About the Author

Victoria Langley
Victoria E. Langley is a senior content writer based in Chicago, IL. Victoria has over nine years of writing experience and holds a J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, now UIC Law. Prior to joining Ontra, Victoria was a freelance legal content writer handling B2C and B2B content. She’s written for law firms, legal publications, and legal tech companies across the country.
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About the Author

Victoria Langley
Victoria E. Langley is a senior content writer based in Chicago, IL. Victoria has over nine years of writing experience and holds a J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, now UIC Law. Prior to joining Ontra, Victoria was a freelance legal content writer handling B2C and B2B content. She’s written for law firms, legal publications, and legal tech companies across the country.
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Additional Resources

Ontra is an alternative legal services provider. We are not a law firm and do not provide any legal services, legal advice, or referral services and, as a result, we do not provide any legal representation to clients, nor do we participate in any legal representation of clients. The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute or be relied upon as legal, tax, accounting, regulatory, or other professional advice, opinion, or recommendation by Ontra or its affiliates. For assistance or guidance regarding the impact or applicability of the topics discussed in this article to your business, please consult your legal or other professional advisers.

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