Contractbook - Fuelling automation in contract management
A passionate entrepreneur, an ambitious technologist, a pragmatic visionary, Niels Martin Brochner has been named one of the 100 best young business talents in Denmark (2019). The co-founder and CEO of Contractbook, a platform that facilitates a digital contract lifecycle management platform specializing in data-driven contract automation, Niels is a well-known name in the industry. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts from the interview:
Conception of Contractbook
Contractbook is a software company that enables small and medium-sized businesses to manage the entire lifecycle of their contracts in a single, streamlined workflow. Contractbook utilizes a dynamic data format that enables users to unlock business intelligence in their contracts and build workflow automations such as self-executing contracts and auto-generated flawless documents in no time. Founded in 2017, the company serves over 150,000 users in more than 75 countries and is backed by Tiger Global, Bessemer Venture Partners, byFounders and Google’s AI-fund, Gradient Ventures. Observes Niels that when Contractbook entered the market, only large enterprises could afford contract management software. All other tools were either insufficient point solutions or expensive, over-complicated software. ”Our ambition was to create a contract management platform where small and medium-sized businesses could manage their contracts and collaborate with their lawyers in the easiest possible way and invest millions in a locally-stored program. We want to make contract management easy, accessible, and affordable for all companies.” As a platform offering multiple solutions to its customers, Contractbook also offers a contract automation solution and a client portal for law firms. “They can use it to auto-generate legal documents and distribute them through a white-labeled platform. We are not here to replace lawyers – we are here to automate legal work and make it more collaborative – for lawyers and their clients”, adds Niels.
AI and Machine Learning
Niels notes that AI and Machine Learning is showing to be a bit hyped and over-promising. He believes that we must go back to basics with technology and focus on structured data formats to lay the foundation for a smarter future – like Contractbook. The vast majority of Contractbooks competitors rely on PDFs but the fact remains that they are useless as they are unreadable for a machine and PDFs are not actionable. ”Contracts are data. That is why Contractbook uses a machine-friendly data format that enables businesses to utilize the business intelligence in their contracts and build smarter workflows based on automation and integrations between your systems. Then you can utilize the AI-technologies as they are maturing. They rely on structured data – that is what we provide.”
Noting that the challenge posed for firms is that the legal market is more client-driven than it used to be, Niels says that law firms need to innovate their services and make their deliveries more efficient and reliable through technology. “With the traditional billable hour model, firms can only have linear growth. But technology and automation enable firms to develop new, more scalable business models based on exponential growth.”
”In Contractbook, we work distributed and value the benefits that come from flexible work hours and environments. We support each other and collaborate to perform like a sports team.” Niels believes that entrepreneurs need to be original and be able to imagine something that didn’t exist before you created it.” We are lucky to have some experienced investors in Bessemer Venture Partners, Gradient Ventures, byFounders and Tiger Global that I can spare with.”
“It’s all about culture. You can only make it if you inspire people to believe in your vision and create an atmosphere where originality thrives. Secondly, I believe that our product must serve our customers and satisfy their needs. We develop and iterate our product in collaboration with our customers and measure our success in customer feedback.”
Niels advices tech startups to look out for complacency. “You must constantly develop your business, constantly iterate on your product, and always look to improve your team. At the same time, you must be humble and continue to work hard and with dedication even when you’ve secured funding and gained traction on the market” he signs off.