“Collecting, processing, and analyzing data from a mobile phone doesn’t have to be so painful!”
In 2017, that’s what Matt Rasmussen and the attorneys he supported at prestigious law firm O’Melveny & Myers kept telling themselves. Rasmussen, then the firm’s West Coast Manager of Litigation Support, was working on a matter related to the investigations of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After using a third-party vendor to collect a large amount of data from their client’s iPhone, Rasmussen, who will turn 39 at the end of May, presented an 800,000 row Excel file for the trial team to review. Suffice it to say, the attorneys were frustrated and not at all happy. “There is no way we can continue to do things this way!” one of them fumed.
Matt agreed, and it was at that moment he decided to solve this ongoing problem. To understand what drives Matt Rasmussen, it is helpful to know where he came from. The oldest of four children, he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Being an entrepreneur is in his blood. Several members of his family, from multiple generations, started and operate their own businesses.
Interestingly, Matt has spent the past 21 years, more than half his young life, working as an employee on both the services provider and law firm sides of the legal services and technology industry. He started his career at 18 with Omaha Legal Copy. Over the past two decades, he has seen it all, from paper scanning to the meteoric growth of electronic discovery to the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to litigation document review and analytics. His holistic perspective on the needs of both services providers and clients have enabled him to understand and address the unique requirements each constituency demands in the new frontier known as smartphone data discovery.
Back in 2017, Matt and his firm’s litigation counsel could not understand why it generally cost over $4,000 to collect and process data from a mobile phone, took three to four days (and sometimes up to a week and a half) to receive the data, and why it was necessary to collect every last piece of data from the custodian’s phone. There were also limited tools available at that time to review the collected information. Smartphone data was by far the “most painful” evidence type on most lawsuits or investigations, so much so that in many instances counsel on both sides of a matter actually agreed NOT to collect data from custodians’ mobile phones simply to avoid the time, expense and difficulty it would take to do so.
It was at that point the development of the ModeOne SaaS framework became Rasmussen’s “passion project.” After he obtained clearance from his firm to pursue a viable solution, he invested several hundred thousand dollars of his personal savings to build it over a three-year period. He had to develop it from the ground up because there were no existing tools into which he could plug in. It also took a long time to develop the software to work with both Apple (iOS) and Android phones because the applications were new and needed to be cutting edge. His mission was to 1) create a solution which would dramatically improve the “speed to facts” for his attorney clients; 2) enable a more targeted approach to data collection while avoiding the capture of private data that was outside the scope of the litigation; 3) generate efficiency by removing the requirement to send forensics specialists to the custodian’s location – simply, he saw the need to develop an automated, remote solution; and 4) reduce the cost at least 50% below the then-standard price of $4,000 per phone collection.
Beyond eDiscovery evidentiary purposes, the ModeOne SaaS framework can be used for law enforcement evidence management, SEC regulatory matters, traders’ communications, corporate compliance, information governance, litigation holds, insider threats, internal audits, departing employee investigations, intellectual property theft concerns, senior executive communication and claims, human resources issues and investigations, HSR 2nd Requests, and divorce/family law matters among other applications. Clients include law firms, corporations, law enforcement agencies, litigation services providers, cybersecurity services firms, and government entities.
This type of evidence is growing exponentially. To put it in perspective, in 2017, there were just over 3.7 billion active smartphone subscribers worldwide. By 2024, this number is expected to grow to over 7 billion global users. Add to that the continued proliferation of data, as the typical mobile device holds all types of potentially relevant information, including call logs, email, photographs, text messages, GPS and location information, video files, voicemail messages, Web search and browsing activity, contacts and address books, calendars, and reminders. All of this data can be potentially responsive to an inquiry, whether it is for litigation e-discovery purposes, a government investigation, or a corporate governance initiative. Plus, social media alternatives and usage continue to grow at elevated rates. For all of these reasons, Rasmussen knew he had to help the profession embrace, rather than dread, this type of evidence. As he describes it, he was in search of the “Easy Button” for mobile data collection, processing, and review.
On March 1, 2022, after three years of seemingly endless, complex software development initiatives and numerous attempts to raise necessary startup capital, Matt Rasmussen launched ModeOne Technologies. Just over a month later, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded him and ModeOne a utility patent in recognition of his inspiration to create highly unique and efficient processes for remote, automated collection of data from mobile devices. The Company has thus far exceeded expectations, and Rasmussen maintains great confidence in his new technology and growing team’s ability to make a lasting mark on improving the speed and efficiency in smartphone data discovery. But when it comes to having a game-changing idea and then bringing it successfully to market, he is the first to admit there is no such thing as an “Easy Button.”