Catalyst Repository Systems Continues Its Successful Journey as a Leading Provider of Cloud-Based eDiscovery Technology

Catalyst has traveled a long and interesting road since John Tredennick, their founder and CEO, spun the company out of Holland & Hart in 2000 after supporting several complex eDiscovery projects within the law firm. Over the past 12 years, Catalyst has continuously improved its eDiscovery technology throughout the eDiscovery lifecycle, processed terabytes of data and hosted thousands of matters for tens of thousands of users around the world, including 5 of the world’s 10 largest companies and 60 of the AmLaw 100 firms.  Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Tredennick and explore the Catalyst journey in more detail.  Following are some of my initial impressions.

Catalyst, a pioneer in providing cloud-based document repositories for eDiscovery in complex legal matters, first got my attention late in 2011 when, during my initial investigation of how cloud service providers were supporting eDiscovery (2012 eDSG Study on Cloud Service Providers), there were rumors that they were considering leveraging the Amazon’s Web Services Infrastructure (AWS) and undertaking a major rewrite of their eDiscovery platform to include utilization of Extensible Markup Language (XML) technology.  They continued to peak my interest when in April of 2012 they announced that FTV Capital, a multi-stage growth equity firm that invests in innovative, high-growth companies, acquired a significant stake in the company, investing a total of $32 million.  Eric Byunn, FTV partner and new Catalyst board member indicated in the initial press releases regarding the investment that they FTV was highly enthusiastic about partnering with Catalyst, given the significant achievements and momentum of this company.  He went on to say that Catalyst’s long-tenured, proven management team has built a differentiated, proprietary technology offering that has attracted an impressive client base of blue chip companies and large law firms and that Catalyst was well-positioned to capitalize on this multi-billion dollar eDiscovery market.

Finally, in July of 2012, the Catalyst rumors that I had heard about back in 2011, turned out to be true as Catalyst indicated that it planned to launch Catalyst Insight, its next generation eDiscovery review platform, at the 2012 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) annual conference on August 26-30, 2012 in Washington DC.  Fortunately, I got a chance to spend some time at the Catalyst booth at ILTA and actually got a demonstration from Mr. Tredennick. Having spent the majority of my career in complex applications development designing, building and marketing enterprise class application into the Global 2000 market, I had an appreciation for the extent of the task to switch to XML and rewrite the majority of an application with a code base the size of Catalyst.

I was very impressed with what John told me regarding this rewrite and duly impressed with what he showed me.  John indicated that with Catalyst Insight, their goal was to listen to their installed based and create a powerful yet elegant new generation cloud-based eDiscovery platform.  A platform that could scale to handle the largest legal matters in the world without the compromises required by traditional legacy solution in the market.  The Company indicated in their press release regarding Catalyst Insight that they met these goals by introducing multiple unique features that they believed set it apart from other traditional eDiscovery platforms:

  • Powerfully Simple – Catalyst Insight is easy to use, enabling users to be up and running in hours, with less training and fewer mistakes.
  • Quick Access –  Catalyst Insight’s private, cloud-based delivery requires no expensive, labor-intensive software or hardware installation.
  • Automated Processing –  Catalyst Insight enables automated loading and processing of almost any type of native files directly into the review platform.
  • Visual Search –  Catalyst Insight’s visual search delivers split-second results including timelines, email chains and graphical reporting, even for complex searches, including searches of over a million characters.
  • Predictive Coding –  Catalyst Insight allows users to review less and review smarter with predictive analytics.
  • Managed Review –  Catalyst’s assigned review module enables review teams to develop unique rules for specific matters, build custom workflows and assign documents across reviewer teams.
  • End-to-end Automation and User-Driven Production –  Catalyst Insight enables complete control of the review process from processing to production.

On October 10, 2012, Catalyst announced, in partnership with Equivio Zoom, support for Predictive Coding in eDiscovery for Japanese and other international languages.   What was interesting about this announcement is that Catalyst contends that utilizing Tokenization technology they have addressed the issue of getting Predictive Coding to perform at statistically acceptable levels with non-English text such as Japanese.

In the press release regarding this announcement, Mr. Tredennick commented that for years, predictive coding has been more speculation than reality in the difficult Japanese language eDiscovery environment.  He contended that most predictive coding engines experience sub-par performance when Japanese text was processed.  He went on to day that the common understanding among eDiscovery professionals in Japan was that predictive coding only works with English text.

However, by adding this new capability to the Catalyst multi-language review platform, Catalyst is providing the Japanese market with a much-awaited service while meeting the complex eDiscovery needs of Japanese and multinational corporations.  The company indicated that Catalyst has long been a leader in eDiscovery solutions for the fast-growing Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) market because of the high-quality tokenization and multi-language search capabilities of its hosted review platform, Catalyst CR. Now, the combination of Equivio Zoom and Catalyst CR allows Japanese and multinational corporations to quickly and efficiently identify the most relevant documents and dramatically reduce the need for human review, reducing the overall cost of review by as much as 50%. In one recent Anti-Trust case, a Japanese corporation was able to increase recall accuracy by 15 – 20 % over conventional tokenized review by using Catalyst CR in combination with the predictive coding capabilities of Equivio Zoom.

The announcement of the capability to support Predictive Coding utilizing tokenization technology to normalize complex international languages such as Japanese was, in my opinion, less about Predictive Coding and more about yet another example of the Catalyst team listening to their installed base and developing a solution to address their requirements.

On October 16, 2012, Catalyst announced that it has partnered with Index Engines, a leader in enterprise information management and archiving solutions, to enhance its capability to proactively manage legacy data repositories and support proactive corporate information governance efforts. With this partnership, Index Engines will add enterprise-class identification, culling and collection from large-scale data sources, including legacy backup tapes.

In a press release regarding the announcement of this partnership, Mr. Tredennick indicated that there are several key advantages to this partnership, including having a centralized platform provides direct access to a wide range of data sources, such as legacy ESI on tapes, which results in operational efficiencies, reduced costs, and enhanced service levels and security.  The company indicated that Catalyst will work with Index Engines to streamline the process of identifying, preserving and collecting relevant data from high-volume data sources, legacy systems and backup tapes to manage the potential liabilities of this neglected content and support information governance policies.

This partnership is a major step forward for Catalyst as it expands their footprint into the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and storage world which will make Catalyst a much more attractive option for the Global 2000.

Over the past 14 years, the Catalyst team has been very successful building and delivering cloud-based eDiscovery technology that met the needs of their installed base.  Therefore, it is no wonder that Catalyst and its executives have received numerous awards over the years including just recently:

  • John Tredennick, Catalyst’s founder and CEO, was named to the 2012 Fastcase 50, which recognizes “The smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders in the law.
  • In 2011, Catalyst ranked number 264 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 annual ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America.
  • In 2011, ColoradoBiz named Catalyst founder and CEO John Tredennick as a finalist for CEO of the Year.
  • In 2010, Catalyst founder and CEO John Tredennick as named Entrepreneur of the Year for the Colorado region by Ernst and Young.
  • ColoradoBiz magazine named Catalyst No. 73 in its annual ranking of the top 250 private companies in Colorado.
  • For the second consecutive year, Inc. magazine named Catalyst to the Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Among private companies overall, Catalyst ranked 2,237. Among companies headquartered in Denver, it ranked 49.

Catalyst has traveled a long and interesting road since John Tredennick, their founder and CEO, spun the company out of Holland & Hart in 2000 after internally supporting several complex eDiscovery projects.  Over the past 14 years, Catalyst has continuously improved its eDiscovery technology throughout the eDiscovery lifecycle, processed terabytes of data and hosted thousands of matters for tens of thousands of users around the world, including 5 of the world’s 10 largest companies and 60 of the AmLaw 100 firms.

With the introduction earlier this year of Catalyst Insight, the recent announcement regarding Predictive Coding for International Languages such as Japanese and the partnership with Index Engines, Catalyst is beginning to create some daylight between itself and many of the legacy vendors in the eDiscovery market.   I look for Catalyst to continue to listen to the needs to its installed based and to successfully continue on its journey as one the leading cloud-based eDiscovery platforms in the world.  As such, I would encourage any Global 2000 enterprise or large law firm that deals with international litigation and large amounts of ESI and is interesting in moving to a new generation cloud based eDiscovery platform, to include Catalyst on their short list.

About Charles Skamser
Charles Skamser is an internationally recognized technology sales, marketing and product management leader with over 25 years of experience in Information Governance, eDiscovery, Machine Learning, Computer Assisted Analytics, Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, IT Automation and ITOA. Charles is the founder and Senior Analyst for eDiscovery Solutions Group, a global provider of information management consulting, market intelligence and advisory services specializing in information governance, eDiscovery, Big Data analytics and cloud computing solutions. Previously, Charles served in various executive roles with disruptive technology start ups and well known industry technology providers. Charles is a prolific author and a regular speaker on the technology that the Global 2000 require to manage the accelerating increase in Electronically Stored Information (ESI). Charles holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from Macalester College.