Contracts as APIs — closing enterprise deals at the speed of SaaS, Welcome Common Paper to boldstart
In the world of open source, product led growth, and SaaS, acquiring users and early paying customers is solved. However, what happens when individual users turn into teams and eventually enterprise wide deals? This is where things slow down to a crawl as legal contracts and MSAs are sent back and forth multiple times with lawyers, sales leaders, executives and founders. Shouldn’t closing enterprise deals move at the speed of SaaS? We all have docusign, hellosign and others but that is the last mile, after all negotiations have been finalized — what about the first mile and tenth mile? What about legal contracts? What if someone could create a standard, open source cloud contract to help deals close faster and then turn those contracts into living and breathing documents as APIs? Enter Jake Stein and Ben Garvey, co-founders of Common Paper.
We’re thrilled to announce that we co-led Common Paper’s $4.5M initial round of funding with our friends at Uncork Capital (Andy McLoughlin) and including angels like Henry Ward (CEO of Carta), Daniel Dines (CEO of UiPath), Brandon Deer (VP Ops & Strategy at UiPath), and Greg Raiten and Kiran Lingam (co-founders of TechGC).
Our mission statement at boldstart is to collaborate with technical founders well before they even write their first line of code and that’s exactly when we started collaborating with Jake (for the third time) in the fall of 2020. It started with an email blurb as simple as this:
As background, you can share that I’m researching an idea for a startup related to improving commercial contracting in B2B software sales. I’d love to ask XXX a few questions about how XXX handles this and get his feedback on the new approach I have in mind.
Like many an origin story from founders in the boldstart portfolio, Common Paper was born out of a pain that Jake experienced as a founder of RJMetrics (acquired by Magento, now Adobe) and Stitch (acquired by Talend) where he watched his sales team become legal project managers pushing contract negotiations instead of of delighting customers and meeting more prospects. It reached the boiling point 🤯 when an existing Fortune 100 customer put his company through a nine-month negotiation just to continue using the product. We knew if any one could tackle this massive problem in a unique manner that there would be no one better than Jake and Ben as we first backed them in 2008 at RJMetrics and worked with them again at Stitch.
Little did I know from that early discovery email and several introductions later that CommonPaper would enable a new world where contracts are APIs and the company would provide a structured contract platform with open source contracts (get Mutual NDA and Cloud Service Agreement) as its foundation. GCs from companies like Figma, Clickhouse, Crossbeam, strongdm, Guru and others have helped create the contract and are using the platform to streamline their time to close and move at the speed of SaaS.
Kelly Martin, Managing Counsel at Figma, said, “Common Paper streamlined our commercial negotiations, freeing up our lawyers and contract managers to focus on more important matters. Our sales team is happy, and we’ve seen broad acceptance by our customers.
In a short period of time, Jake and Ben have built CommonPaper to a team of 8 amazing individuals and are continuing to hire. They have also open sourced a better and faster way to enter NDAs and sell cloud software which you can try for free here. Welcome to the boldstart family and we’re 🔥 up for the journey ahead!
More here from the Meet Common Paper blog post