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What’s Next for Clio? Its New CFO Says It’s Developing M&A ‘Muscle’

By Law

Clio has only acquired three companies since it was founded in 2008. But after an eight-figure investment round and a new CFO in Curt Sigfstead, who is experienced in capital growth, that acquisition cadence may change.

After doubling its executive board in late 2021, Clio recently added Curt Sigfstead as its new chief financial officer to help steer its heightened M&A strategy.

Sigfstead joined the practice management provider after serving as CFO for fintech capital provider Clearco. He also previously led West Coast technology investment banking at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., according to Clio’s press release announcing the hiring. Sigfstead replaces Clio’s retiring CFO Rob Froment.

Sigfstead said he was interested in joining Clio for various reasons, including the company’s expansion possibilities. “There’s a lot more to do, there’s things we can do from a product perspective [and] on the payment side of the business,” he said. “We have international ambitions; [there’s] a lot of opportunities.”

Sigfstead noted client digital payment tool Clio Payments, which launched in late October 2021, provides options for creating additional financial services for Clio. “We can think about ways for customers to pay [in] installments [and] financing certain aspects of the services that they purchase, but we will develop them over time as we see demand.”

Along with managing the company’s financial matters and other typical CFO responsibilities, Sigfstead noted he would use his previous corporate finance experience to assist Clio’s capital raises and acquisitions. “I have almost two decades of experience in technology and investment banking, I think I bring an interesting lens on capital markets, capital-raising and M&A and corporate development,” he said.

Clio also unveiled equity investment portfolio Clio Ventures last October, which Sigfstead described as a venture fund “to help the acceleration of the development of companies that fit with our product vision.”

But along with investing in legal tech vendors, Clio is poised to acquire more legal tech companies. While Clio has only acquired three companies since its 2008 launch, Sigfstead noted the September 2021 acquisition of Lawyaw and July 2021′s purchase of CalendarRules hints at Clio’s burgeoning M&A strategy.

“We’re developing the muscle with CalendarRules and Lawyaw that allows us, as we go forward, to be opportunistic and confident that we know how to acquire and integrate [companies] and make that consistent with and operate in the Clio framework. My observation is, tech companies—especially as you’re growing as fast as Clio—typically don’t have the ability to do M&A along the way. That’s a unique strength the company has,” he said.

To be sure, Clio wouldn’t be the only legal tech company to consistently acquire multiple vendors in a year. However, that approach does come with challenges if companies grow too fast and if resources aren’t dedicated to integrating new entities.

Exploring such accelerated growth opportunities requires not only ambition and strategy but also money. Clio secured $110 million during a Series E round in April 2021, which raised the practice management software provider’s valuation to billion-dollar unicorn status.

As of now, Clio isn’t currently pursuing additional outside investment, but Sigfstead didn’t rule out a public listing. “It’s one of the opportunities we can pursue [but] there’s nothing immediate at this point,” Sigfstead said. “We’re getting to a scale and size and growth rate where that’s something we can definitely contemplate.”

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