Features

Kristie Scott – Xometry

Using legal tech to keep AI-enabled marketplace booming

It may be one of the world’s oldest industries, but manufacturing is the new high-tech sector. Artificial Intelligence, new processes like 3D printing and digital tools are increasingly reshaping—and accelerating—how parts go from simple concept to production, and one company is helping drive that revolution. 

Kristie Scott – Xometry

Kristie Scott | General Counsel | Xometry

Xometry, which went public almost three years ago, offers an AI-powered digital marketplace for custom manufacturing. As it helps reshape an industry that accounts for 15 percent of the U.S.’s gross domestic product, its general counsel, Kristie Scott, is at once helping the young company continue to scale, while reshaping an industry, guiding executives in an entirely new space and creating precedents along the way. 

“We have a small legal department, but as a growth company, we’re always looking at ways to do things better, faster and at a cost savings to the business,” Scott tells Vanguard during an interview in March.  

Xometry, headquartered in North Bethesda, Maryland, is a publicly traded AI-enabled marketplace for on-demand manufacturing. Xometry is transforming one of the largest industries in the world by utilizing its proprietary technology to create a two-sided marketplace that enables designers and engineers to source high-quality, custom manufacturing parts and assemblies rapidly from manufacturers domestically and abroad.  

Scott is the 11-year-old company’s only in-house attorney, and her role involves navigating legal challenges, ensuring compliance and balancing the needs of the business. Her unique background and passion for the intersection of business and law have allowed her to excel in the role, and she continues to contribute to Xometry’s success in a rapidly changing industry.  

“Throughout my career, I’ve helped guide companies through periods of substantial change, whether through mergers and acquisitions that create new market leaders or helping young companies like Xometry redefine an entire market and create new business opportunities along the way,” said Scott. “Legal plays an important role in shaping a business, but I’m also mindful that, when you’re working with a company like Xometry, its influence can help shape an entire industry.” 

A growing business 

When Scott last spoke to Vanguard in 2017, she was working on integrating PR Newswire’s business and employees into the Cision group of companies after an $841 million acquisition. Now, she handles trademarks, patents, contracts, insurance, SEC filings, corporate governance, labor and employment matters, and manages litigation. Additionally, because of Xometry’s global presence with offices in Europe and China, she deals with regulatory and international work.  

“The nature of our work means there are new challenges that pop up daily,” Scott says. 

To ensure that work is completed to meet the needs of a growing business, Scott says she expects to hire a second lawyer to join her sometime in the second half of 2024 or the first part of 2025. This person will likely have expertise in an area Scott doesn’t consider herself an expert, like the complexities of importing and exporting. 

Kristie Scott – Xometry

The Xometry legal team now includes a paralegal and two contract managers. It is a lean yet effective and efficient team. And Scott is starting to think about ways to use technology to improve the team’s efficiency and effectiveness.  

“AI is a great tool, and we use it internally to analyze data and create pricing algorithms, but it isn’t a be-all, end-all for the legal department,” Scott cautions.  

In the short term, Scott says she isn’t focused on using AI, but she is always looking for ways to use technology to take some tasks off her plate, though she admits that looking at AI and other tools often gets pushed to the back burner because of more pressing matters.  

A mature organization 

Xometry uses a proprietary AI-enabled engine that determines pricing for custom parts. They have built a vast network of manufacturing partners to create parts using various processes and materials. Xometry acts as a contracting party, assuming liability on both sides, which sets them apart from competitors in the industry. This disruptive approach challenges the traditional way of doing things in the manufacturing sector. The company also provides various digital tools for buyers to make procurement easier, and cloud-based software and services that help suppliers digitize certain aspects of their shops. 

One of Scott’s notable achievements was helping Xometry navigate the process of launching its IPO. Furthermore, she helped the company create a donor advisor fund to encourage investment in the manufacturing industry. This fund has already provided scholarships to students in six states to pursue careers in manufacturing and STEM. This initiative aligns with the industry’s need for a skilled workforce. 

Kristie Scott – Xometry

Additionally, Scott has been instrumental in navigating the company through a post-COVID landscape. That has included a back-to-work program, updating the employee handbook and dealing with the challenges of having more remote employees. 

“There are certain tax implications for employees and the company, and we had to create addendums to our policies for every state,” Scott says. “We also had to deal with people moving to new states and countries. That has consequences for the business.” 

Engineering a legal career 

Scott had a nontraditional path to law school, though she admits that growing up, she was interested in the law. In college, she spent her first year studying chemical engineering but realized she didn’t want to work for a big chemical or oil and gas company—but she wanted to stay in engineering.  

“I didn’t see myself building bridges or designing skyscrapers, so I was at a crossroads,” Scott says. “My mother was a programmer, and our family was the only one with a computer when I was a kid, so I leaned toward software development and animation.” 

After earning a computer science and engineering degree from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, she worked as a computer programmer for four years while attending law school at night at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  

When she graduated from law school, she had risen to a software development lead role with her company, CMSI, but the company had a new general counsel who asked her to join the legal department.  

Kristie Scott – Xometry

“Everything was aligned, and the new GC knew I knew the products and the customers, and he mentored me on the legal side,” Scott remembers.  

Despite never working for a law firm, Scott says she received more on-the-job training by usually being the sole attorney in the places she’s worked, leaving her with broad and general knowledge.  

Scott spent two years at Aether Systems and 10 years with Vocus before six years as general counsel for Cision, a public relations and earned media software company and services provider. She joined Xometry in her current role in March 2021.  

“I align myself with the executive team and never refer to the company as my client,” she says. “I am committed to balancing the business needs with my legal responsibilities and can’t wait to see what comes next.” 

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring II 2024 Edition here.

Published on: April 11, 2024

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