You are here

Legal tech start-up from Flanders raises EUR 6.5 million

Henchman, a start-up from Ghent that develops custom software for lawyers, has recently raised EUR 6.5 million. Besides Adjacent VC (US), Acton Capital (Germany) and Conviction VC (UK), various well-known tech entrepreneurs in Flanders also participated in the capital round. These include Louis Jonckheere from Showpad and Felix Van de Maele from Collibra. Henchman co-founder Gilles Mattelin: “We mine contract clauses instead of bitcoins.”

Modernizing law firms

Things are moving fast for Henchman, which celebrates its second anniversary in 2023. While the business is still in its early days, Henchman already serves over 100 law firms in more than 15 countries with its custom software system. Revenue even grew by a whopping 750% in just one year.

“Law firms are rapidly modernizing and innovating,” says Gilles Mattelin, co-CEO and co-founder of Henchman. “Not only are their clients becoming more demanding, but law firms are also facing a war for talent. Meanwhile, they are accumulating loads and loads of data, the potential of which is still underutilized.”

Digital sidekick

Enter Henchman, the digital sidekick that does the manual search work for lawyers. The concept is simple. At most law firms specializing in real estate contracts, corporate mergers or investments, tools like Dropbox or Google Drive are bulging with complex contracts and clauses. Henchman’s software scans, indexes and arranges these clauses.

Indexing such a database can take days. “You could compare it to bitcoin mining,” says Mattelin. “But instead, we mine contract clauses. The required computing power is massive.” For this computing power, Henchman relies on Amazon’s AWS cloud tech.

Thanks to our technology, newly starting lawyers don’t have to seek advice from more experienced colleagues for every contract they draft. They can learn and work much more independently. With Henchman, not only do they save time, but the quality also improves because they get a clear overview of all the clauses ever used.

Gilles Mattelin
co-CEO and co-founder

AI momentum

The hype surrounding the AI chatbot ChatGPT created strong momentum for Henchman in early 2023. Mattelin: “ChatGPT opened the eyes of even the biggest critics of AI and technology in the legal world.” Consequently, Henchman is experimenting with the tool. “You can ask ChatGPT to add pieces of text to an existing, validated clause from your organization, you can ask it to replace or pluralize certain words.”

Data security remains our number one priority, though,” adds co-founder Jorn Vanysacker. “We don't link our customers’ databases with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. Moreover, customers choose for themselves whether to use the tool or not.

R&D and expansion

In the meantime, Mattelin and Vanysacker are keeping their feet firmly on the ground. They also manage talent very thoughtfully. Vanysacker: “Our 35-strong team consists of people with 5 to 10 years of experience at leading tech companies such as Showpad and Silverfin. We have a strong team to drive growth in the next two years.”

So, what will the recently raised EUR 6.5 million be used for? “The funds will go to R&D to maintain our leading position,” Mattelin explains. “In addition, we want to grow geographically. Around 70% of all lawyers in the world are based in the US.” But that doesn’t mean Henchman will be opening an office there right away. “Those plans will be on the table when we reach EUR 1 to 2 million in turnover.”

More info

Reported by
newspaper De Tijd
7 March 2023

More news about Flanders?

  • Regular updates
  • No spam

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

Let us help you!

  • We can introduce you to other companies, banks and regulators
  • We organize site visits to real estate locations
  • We assist with all legal aspects of setting up a business
  • We're an official government agency
  • Our services are completely free
  • We are a team of international experts

Receive our handbook to growing your business in Flanders

  • It's completely free.
  • Get an overview of all incentives relevant to your company.
  • Tax system explained in-depth.
  • Learn how to set up your business quickly.
  • Discover the benefits of Flanders (in addition to the chocolate).

In addition to the ebook, I agree to receive one or two follow-up emails