I vividly recall my first briefing with Nuix’s dynamic duo, Eddie and Morgan Sheehy. Of course, it happened at a LTNY (probably 2009, but they all blur together). That was shortly after we had converted the eDiscovery Journal from editorial press into the eDJ Group market analyst model. I was impressed with Eddie’s laser focus on breaking the $/GB consumption market and loved Morgan’s joy at breaking the 1TB/day performance threshold. Eddie quizzed me about my short stint as Attenex’s Director of Consulting (I fled before the FTI acquisition). We joked about Attenex’s alternative brand meaning, a ten times revenue multiple goal for acquisition. Over a decade later the $1.8 billion Nuix IPO deal comes in at nine times projected revenue. Normally I would be congratulating Nuix friends and peers, but few remain after Sheehy’s abrupt departure in 2017. What does this sudden influx of cash and public ownership mean for Nuix customers?
In my view, Nuix has been struggling to decide between the investigations, security and eDiscovery markets since Eddie left. The Sheehy brothers grew Nuix from a small investigation tool into a global eDiscovery processing platform in just over a decade. In retrospect, my LTNY 2018 Nuix briefing felt like the team was looking for a clear customer pain point to solve with the Nuix engine. They had launched the Nuix Web Review module while assuring me that they did not intend to compete in the Relativity review market. The product line seemed to stagnate for a while or I somehow missed some releases while in the Australian eDiscovery trenches using Nuix. 2019 saw more cohesive releases focused on new security, collection and analytics. Nuix’s lifecycle reminds me of Encase and Access Data’s transitions to public ownership and broader product portfolios. For the sake of Nuix customers and partners I hope that Nuix navigates this transition better than its predecessors. There are fascinating parallels between the 2013 AccessData board-founder cage match (not my description) and Eddie Sheehy’s current fight to claim $110 million in Nuix options that have somehow disappeared before Macquarie profits from taking Nuix public. My best wishes to Eddie in his fight. I always back the dreamers over the board when I can. This dispute is unlikely to impact customers, though it might slow any post-IPO Nuix buying spree (AccessData gobbling up Summation).
Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.
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