The sign outside Relativity's new Chicago headquarters nods to the rebrand. (Courtesy)
The sign outside Relativity's new Chicago headquarters nods to the rebrand. (Courtesy)

Eyeing Expansion, Chicago E-discovery Company Rebrands

One of the biggest e-discovery software companies is rebranding itself as it sets its sights on international expansion. 

Over the weekend, Chicago-based kCura — which produces the widely used data processing and review software, Relativity, and attracts thousands of e-discovery practitioners to its annual Relativity Fest every fall — rebranded itself as Relativity.

Andrew Sieja, kCura founder and CEO, said the Relativity brand long ago eclipsed kCura, a term which was coined years ago when the company had ambitions to specialize in knowledge management. Instead, it found success in the roughly $2.5 billion e-discovery software market, with a reported 13,000 organizations including nearly every AmLaw 200 firm, the U.S. Justice Department, plus corporations including NBCUniversal, LinkedIn, Allstate and others.

“None of our customers knew who kCura was,” said Sieja, “everyone knew us as Relativity.”

In 2015, Iconiq Capital became a minority investor in the company, with a $125 million injection. Since then, the company has been in expansion mode, with Sieja citing increasing data volumes and data formats as key drivers of growth.

Earlier this year, it leased an additional 40,000 square feet of office space in Chicago, bringing its total to 160,000 square feet; and last week it opened an additional lab in Poland where it hopes to hire hundreds of engineers, within the next year, to continue building out Relativity, he said.

In Europe, the company also has a sales and consulting office in London, plus it has additional people in Australia and Hong Kong.

In recent years, the European Union, China, Russia and other counties have enacted privacy and security laws that place new restrictions on how data is collected and moves across borders. Sieja explained that as he looks to grow business overseas, which currently accounts for about 20 percent of revenue, it no longer made sense to maintain both brands.

The company now claims 13,000 organizations are users, including 70 companies from the Fortune 100, and have uploaded more than 200 billion documents onto its platform.

Branding, however, has been a challenge for kCura, Sieja said, noting he coined the name around 2001 when his company was a consulting firm that worked on knowledge management, building extranets and various other projects for law firms and other professional service firms. The k stood for knowledge, and Cura means management in Latin, he said.

Instead, in 2004, the company pivoted to e-discovery, after Foley & Lardner hired the company to help create a data and document management and review system, that Sieja called EDDS, for electronic data discovery system. That became the basis for what Sieja built into Relativity, although he didn’t coin that name until three years later in 2007.

“True story, I was hanging out with a buddy for drinks one day and we just made it up,” he said. “I just thought relativity sounded cool.”

Ten years later, the company has grown from a small firm with a half-dozen employees to one with 800 employees and global ambitions.

The e-discovery software market experiences around 10 percent annual growth, according to past estimates by Gartner.

“Our customers in general are asking to do more, with less,” said Sieja. “They’re expecting more automation. They want to be able to do 10-times the work with five fewer people.”

Contact the reporter at gabefriedman@outlook.com.

Contact the editor at csullivan@bna.com.

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