DealCloud tracks deals’ twists, turns

 In October 2019

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In the lobby of Intapp Inc.’s new DealCloud Inc. office, executives, employees and local officials mingle with drinks in hand, applauding as a pair of gold novelty scissors makes its way to the front of the crowd before christening the new space. The multimillion-dollar investment in the 18,000-square-foot office in downtown Charlotte represents the company’s impressive growth — and its ambitious future plans. In the last three years, 10-year-old DealCloud has grown from 15 employees to nearly 250. Its explosive growth can be credited to its niche product in a market with few competitors, company culture and 2018 acquisition by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Intapp.

Founders Ben Harrison and Rob Cummings started DealCloud in 2010 as an idea jotted on a whiteboard while they worked at Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm. They realized that Salesforce, Microsoft and other software platforms lacked necessary tools for dealmakers.

The duo hired a development team to create software services that help financial companies track virtually every aspect of deals. Its products provide workflow organization, analyze data, organize intelligence on key players and offer other tools to improve relationships with clients.

DealCloud attracted $5.3 million from St. Louis-based Cultivation Capital LLC and Philadelphia-based Hamilton Lane Inc. in 2015, a transaction that included naming veteran tech executive Rick Kushel as CEO. Since then, the company has added two New York-area offices and one in London.

“We’ve done a really good job developing the technology to solve for the specific-use case,” Kushel says. “The moment we walk into an opportunity, it’s very clear that we understand their business, and that’s what’s elevated our win rate.”

DealCloud caught the eye of Intapp, which bought the company for undisclosed terms. “The business these guys have been able to create has all the best parts of [an] entrepreneurial, innovative, high-growth company,” says Don Coleman, chief operating officer of Intapp, which provides similar services for law firms, accountants and others.

“Employees here are part of a community; they feel like they’re part of something,” Coleman says. “The first time I set foot in the prior office, an individual was celebrating her birthday. It was about 7 o’clock at night, my flight landed late, and there were about 20 people around eating cupcakes and singing Happy Birthday. She paused, interrupted her personal celebration to say ‘Hey,’ with a tremendous amount of pride, ‘let me show you around, let me introduce you to everybody.’”

As part of Intapp, which has about 650 employees and collectively more than 1,500 clients, DealCloud can attract a broader range of business and capture a larger market share, Kushel says.

DealCloud remains headquartered in Charlotte for its infrastructure, talent, competitive cost of living and limited big-tech competition, says Harrison, who is chief revenue officer. About 30% of DealCloud’s local employees moved from other areas, and it’s now doubling its new office space.

“I think we can achieve scale faster here. One of the selling points is we’re able to pull from the industry reserve with massive financial institutions,” Harrison says. “You have leading banks and investors, and there’s billions of dollars in private equity here.”

Dealmaking is a trillion-dollar sector, so DealCloud has an opportunity to create “a company with a valuation in the B’s,” Kushel says, referring to billions. While the goal is to go public, Intapp’s backing from Boston-based Great Hill Partners and the Temasek Holdings sovereign wealth fund in Singapore provides funding to keep the expansion going.

Kushel points to a glass plaque posted across from the conference room where he’s sitting. Below the DealCloud logo are three bullet points, the second reading, “superior execution.”

“That’s one of our core values,” he says, “and that’s what we’re going to do.”

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