Read this blog post to learn how MatterHorn launched an innovative digital product that disrupted the M&A industry with application and software development services by e-Core. You can also watch a 20-minutes video session about this project on e-Core Connections ’22, our latest annual conference.
Rich in legal and financial expertise, but not IT, Matterhorn hired e-Core in 2011 to build the digital tech behind its product idea. Spoiler alert: it worked! The e-Core/Matterhorn partnership continues today, 10 years after starting on this venture.
Today Matterhorn provides comprehensive databases, analyses, and reports of publicly filed information as well as firms’ private documents. The database is favored by investment banks, transactional attorneys, financial advisors and corporate management across the US, UK, and Canada. It is transforming the way research is integrated into deal strategy, structure, planning and negotiation. The e-Core-built tool provides an unprecedented level of granularity in a fast and simple search interface.
In any negotiation, knowledge is power. In the multi-billion-dollar merger and acquisition (M&A) market, knowing more can mean millions of dollars in every deal. Matterhorn Transactions (Matterhorn) saw a significant opportunity to disrupt the M&A industry. Thousands of deals are conducted across myriad industries, but deal makers did not have detailed term language to quantify it. Goldman Sachs and their attorneys approached the founders of Matterhorn to ask if they could build a way to search all the deals across all the industries.
THE CHALLENGE (OR OPPORTUNITY?)
Imagine approaching the negotiating table with both deep knowledge of comparable deals as well as broad statistics on market trends. When someone across the table claims, you can check them in real time to respond, “I never agree to go shop provisions,” “I just searched all of your past deals and you have agreed to such provisions 4 other times, with an average duration of 21 days.” Imagine accelerating your drafting process by selecting specific paragraphs from precedent deals and readily customizing them for your client’s specific needs. (For example, most deals now include a “Weinstein Clause” to protect from workplace relationship concerns. Matterhorn CEO Logan Beirne wrote an article in “Law Street” in November 2021 about how the clause has come to be integrated into M&A contracts.) Knowing more, better and faster turned out to be a huge opportunity.
Previously, M&A and legal professionals had to plow through SEC filings using clunky search and access tools. Matterhorn envisioned an instant, adaptable, curated, search engine specific to M&A deals. It was, is, a great idea.
e-Core took on the challenge of building a proprietary database and search engine to deliver the deal-changing information Matterhorn’s clients need. As the product launched, and has since evolved, e-Core also handles all the ongoing tech support and product development.
e-Core developed database software from scratch. It answers the unique search capabilities Matterhorn needs for its clients. e-Core provided backend, frontend and UX designs. e-Core continues to provide coding and consulting services to add functionality and ensure accurate information as Matterhorn expands its use.
It would be too simplistic to characterize the Matterhorn tool as a “Google for M&A.” Google only takes care of text search. While the Matterhorn application allows for text search across deal documents, a lot more is required. Matterhorn engine uses Solr in a Google-like search style, but it goes far deeper: providing categorized search, more similar to e-commerce websites like Amazon, but with detailed information added by their team of experienced attorney inputters.
That’s still not enough. Matterhorn supports many templates and deal types beyond M&A, such as credit agreements, commitment letters, and many others. Some of the templates have more than a hundred fields that can be used as search filters.
Matterhorn allows clients to filter deals by a number of criteria, which can be combined in a single search. It also allows users to create alert settings to be notified when a new deal matching a given criteria is added to the database. And field values are highlighted in the deal documents so users know where the values came from.
Also, bundling a lot of code requires proper tooling. e-Core uses Webpack, which allows for lazy code loading (a.k.a. code splitting), and great modularization of the application. Code Splitting is important to keep the loading time very low — under one second in most cases.
Building the production bundle is quite an intensive task. Some effort was made to speed up this step so e-Core can deploy new versions faster. e-Core automated the deployment process, using a blue-green (canary) deployment to achieve zero-downtime deployments most of the time.
Matterhorn hosts a mountain of data, all available through e-Core tools. Matterhorn’s current database includes more than 70 thousand documents across more than 15 thousand deals from deals all over the world, as of December 2021. It grows! Matterhorn gets more than a hundred new published deals every month. On average, each deal has 3-5 documents attached.
Matterhorn is able to complete complex searches —including full-text and a number of other search filters — over more than 40 thousand documents, typically delivering results in less than one second.
The M&A database tracks publicly-announced deals over $25 million in value for its clients across the US, UK, and Canada. It captures nearly 1,000 points of valuable data from a comprehensive set of publicly-disclosed documents from 2007 to present. It is current within just days of documents being filed with the SEC. Matterhorn clients can search on transaction documents for relative terms and conditions. They can download and compare deal terms, facts and language. They can even pull paragraphs from previous deals as templates to inform their own deal projects. This knowledge-based understanding of the current market landscape is a powerful advantage
The Credit and Loan database offers access to comprehensive information on credit and loan documents for U.S. borrower transactions. The e-Core tool provides hundreds of points of valuable data for each transaction. Matterhorn clients can discover nuanced market trends while diving deep ly into each deal.
Some law firms and financial industry clients want to create their own, private, databases of deal-related documents.So, Matterhorn also offers the e-Core database management and search technology to private firms. Fast and comprehensive search offers unprecedented insight into clients’ proprietary deal document databases. This significantly enhances precedent management and analysis.
BUSINESS IMPACT. DELIVERED.
“They are a team of proven innovators — e-Core’s results consistently exceed expectations. We continue to receive immensely positive feedback from our clients on the ease of use and sophistication of the technology. It’s excellent working with such a cutting edge team of problem solvers.”
Ready for the future
An old Russian proverb says, “When dancing with a bear, never stop when you’re tired.” When you create a new product that disrupts an industry and creates rapid success, you never stop innovating. “The digital revolution must never stop,” says e-Core CEO Marcio Silveira. The relationship between Matterhorn’s financial and legal expertise and e-Core’s IT expertise is a perfect example of how e-Core helps companies transform and then accelerate!
Usually new development is driven by client needs. Matterhorn asks for a new feature and e-Core’s team discusses whether it’s viable and how to implement it. As IT coders, but also consultants, e-Core finds best solutions for its customers, even if tasks go to third-party companies. In Matterhorn’s case for example, a client wanted to support PDF documents. But it would be too much work to try to develop a solution to convert PDF to HTML from scratch. So, e-Core suggested a solution from Idr Solutions. Also, e-Core worked with another company that Matterhorn hired to work with Machine Learning to successfully automatically extract field values from documents.
Sometimes e-Core identifies issues. For Matterhorn there was a need to upgrade libraries and servers. Or some libraries seem to get abandoned and e-Core replaces them with better options. Sometimes new browser features allow e-Core to get rid of some of older libraries too.
For e-Core, client satisfaction is a matter of more than technical capability. It’s about people. Talented people who love what they do. There’s a cultural advantage. For years, e-Core has built a reputation that attracts and keeps the best talent. Plus, e-Core offers the advantage of being in a similar time zone as Matterhorn. e-Core is headquartered in Brazil with offices in the U.S. Matterhorn CEO Beirne rated e-Core as five-stars across all categories and would recommend it to others.