The Contract Management Unicorn
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Monish Darda, 55, CTO & Co-founder, Icertis
Monish Darda is unlike a 25-year-old unicorn founder who is the usual poster boy of the Indian startup ecosystem. The leading provider of enterprise contract management in the cloud, Icertis happens to be Monish Darda’s seventh startup. The previous one he was part of was listed as one of the most successful ones on Nasdaq during 2016. As a serial entrepreneur when he was thinking about what’s next, he co-founded Icertis in 2009 with Samir Bodas. On sharing what got him stuck to this venture he says, “We did three things right. First, we were at the right place at the right time. Second, we treated the space of contract management differently than all the players. And third, we actually went in for the long term to create values. We were always agile and thoughtful to the customers’ needs.” 15 years back it was impossible to displace large companies. Today also he believes a startup can come and disrupt them so he makes sure that the company constantly innovates. “If you are cognizant of doing the right things then you can actually succeed,” he adds.
Icertis is in the B2B SAAS enterprise contract management. “For any business process that starts with a contract or ends in a contract we want to make sure that it is automated. We look at contracts, templates, and obligations and we do that at a global scale. Ours is the largest depository of contracts in the world,” explains Monish.
Talking about his learning as a serial entrepreneur, Monish says, “My strength has always been technology. What is the problem that you are going to solve is what I love doing.”From 2014 onwards Icertis started having large clients like Microsoft. And in 2015, the venture went on to raise its first round of Series A. Their first few investors were people who liked what Icertis was doing. As time went by in 2019 Icertis became a unicorn. Talking about the same, Monish says, “We are still conservative in terms of how we think about the business despite being a unicorn. We focus more on the long term rather than short term.”
Today, the business is divided fairly between the US and the rest of the world though the US is the biggest revenue contributor to the company. Going forward the company will look at reaching a valuation of 5 billion in five years and expanding to Middle East, Japan, and South America. Talking about the future of technology, Monish says, “We probably have the largest contract depository in the world. Terabytes of data are there. It is all sensitive information. AI and blockchain can transform the foundation of contract making.”
10 million Contracts under management
Present in 90+ Countries
Available across 40+ Languages
Leading clients: Airbus, Cognizant, Daimler, Microsoft and Sanofi
(This article was first published in the June 2020 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)