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Building an Artificial Intelligence Software Company from Dallas: Dave Copps, CEO of Brainspace (Part 4)

Posted on Sunday, Jan 31st 2016

Sramana Mitra: How big was the LexisNexis deal?

Dave Copps: It ended up being a multi-year deal that paid us over $3 million.

Sramana Mitra: That’s awesome.

Dave Copps: For a startup, it’s amazing.

Sramana Mitra: What about the early parts of this company? Obviously, you had made money from the previous company and you had some personal capital to put in. Did you put in personal capital or did you raise money?

Dave Copps: From my last company, I had met some investors who know me very well. We had a track record together so the natural thing to do was to get together with those people to fund this company. That’s what I did but again, I did it like the last time. We didn’t overfund it. I raised $1.2 million. Just enough to bring in some people without having to have them work for free. We bootstrapped the rest of it.

We literally got clients pretty early. Lexis became a client and they were paying us several thousand a month. Most of it was bootstrapped but we had the investor equity to help us get started. This company has been through three rounds of financing. The A and B rounds were really close together. We did the funding and had great investors. I consider myself incredibly lucky. I have a very close relationship with my investors. It’s probably different for most companies.

Sramana Mitra: You said you did three rounds of financing. Was it an institutional round or were they high net worth individuals kind of financing?

Dave Copps: The first A and B rounds were with high net worth individuals. The C round I did two years ago was with Medina Capital. We were Manny Medina’s third investment. He had just started his fund.

Sramana Mitra: Tell me a little bit about the business and how this business developed. You started off with an early deal with Lexis. Did that kind of pattern of being able to win against Autonomy and other bigger competitors continue?

Dave Copps: It did. When I look back, the timing for starting a business wasn’t very good because the market crashed hugely in 2008. Luckily, we had that funding. That was a dead year really. Nothing happened except for development and some growth. It flipped again in 2010. For our first three years, we had two downturns. Right after that, things really started picking up. We’re still pretty small.

We latched onto the e-discovery industry. We wanted to find an industry that can get this company off the ground. We wanted to find an industry where there was urgency. We latched on to e-discovery like right now with Volkswagen. We latched on to that and did very well. Seven of the top legal service providers in the world standardised on our technology including companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and KPMG. As a matter of fact, since I spoke to you last, we now have global agreements with all three of those major consulting companies. It’s really growing.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Building an Artificial Intelligence Software Company from Dallas: Dave Copps, CEO of Brainspace
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