When Kevin Carlson was working as the CTO of Viant, he constantly searched for out-of-the-box applications geared to a specific vertical niche. He didn't have much luck and ended spending too much time and money having them developed and built from scratch. So when Carlson left the IT consultant about two years ago, he did something about it.
His new company, Verteris, recently launched its first product, a suite of applications designed to help lawyers focused on mass torts and class-action lawsuits to facilitate communications among themselves and their clients as well as to decrease the cost of creating and shipping documents.
Called Confero, the products include Internet Edition, Client Extranet and Counsel Extranet, and can be sold separately or together. Atlanta-based Verteris currently has three clients and is building a solution provider channel.
Although the channel program is still in the formation process, Verteris is willing to work with solution providers to help them maximize their margin, Carlson said. Pricing on the products vary, but solution providers can make between 10 percent and 15 percent in recurring revenue, paid up front, on each sale, Carlson said.
"This is a perfect add-on for solution providers because they can host it themselves or we can host it for them and they don't have to worry about it," he said. "The complex litigation market is over $1 billion and there aren't too many people addressing it, so the opportunities for solution providers are huge."
Evan Leonard, president of CHIPS Solutions, a Lake Success, N.Y., solution provider that serves the legal and other markets, met with Carlson at CMP Media's recent Solution Provider XChange, liked what he was hearing and demoed the product.
"The products seem very simple to use, and you can see the cost savings to the customer right off the bat," Leonard said. "If you can get the customer to use it once, it will become an addictive product suite."
The Internet Edition provides law firms with a Web presence built around a content management platform. Solution providers can help clients create customized sites with dedicated case areas, which can be used to recruit plaintiffs and advertise case availability. The Client Extranet is used mainly as a secure communications tool between the law office and clients.
The Counsel Extranet, Verteris' flagship product, provides a communications system that allows attorneys to notify opposing attorneys about certain cases, store pertinent case documents, and record what documents are viewed and when. Since dozens of attorneys are often involved in mass litigation suits, the system saves the cost of having to ship thousands of documents, Carlson explained.
"If you have to send 100 documents to 50 different attorneys, that's a lot of money you're spending with FedEx," he said. "We charge a flat rate per year that adds up to pennies compared with what it costs to ship the documents. That presents a strong ROI message to the end user."