A Contract Management Platform Inspired By J.R.R. Tolkien

SirionLabs aspires for a public offering in the next two to three years

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SirionLabs, a full-stack contract management company, was incepted over eight years ago by a group of four John Ronald Reuel Tolkien fans. Inspired by the Lord of The Rings and the river Sirion in the Lord of The Rings books, they named the company SirionLabs. The analogy of the name, however, was quite interesting.

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"A journey from darkness to light, the flow of the River Sirion increases when it makes it to the surface from under the surface. We always felt much like the world of contracts, the value was trapped until you could throw light on it, SirionLabs merely mirrored the journey of the river. The journey of darkness to light, intensifying the flow of data as you applied high-order technology to those fuzzy objects," said Ajay Agrawal, co-founder and chairman, SirionLabs.

The company began by investing heavily in how to harvest complex multi-attribute objects from underlying fuzzy objects such as contracts or quick data objects to understand obligation and service levels and pricing levels that were embedded inside the contract rather than using annual effort. It progressed to advanced forms of artificial intelligence in an attempt to centralize the documents and bring them onto the cloud in one go. Another purpose of artificial intelligence was to understand what the third party is proposing and how it is risky or different.

The contract management market used to be $8 billion but has grown to become $20 billion, according to Agrawal. There are over 100 players in the contract management space with approximately 60 players that are seriously funded. The aspect that attracted Agrawal to the market was the money being spent on complex spending that was occurring from there. He believed that there was a potential leakage. The data available to SirionLabs indicated that $2 trillion worth of services spent was happening worldwide. An approximate 10-12 per cent leakage came to leakage of $200-250 billion of promised value which did not materialize. The problem to be solved proved to be a very enticing avenue for Agrawal. Another pull factor for Agrawal was that it was not a cluttered space.

"There are several entrepreneurs in India who want to go down a beaten path and build something faster, cheaper and more efficient. SirionLabs was more focussed towards fundamental innovation, in bringing the power of the problem that was relatively unsolved or only being tackled at a manual front," added Agrawal.

Looking back at his journey, Agrawal believes that joining the dots is relatively easy and intuitive but looking at it from the point of starting the journey, it was never that simple. A piece of advice he imparts to the young entrepreneurs is to pace the deployment of capital to achieve the basic milestones that you need. Running out of capital or almost running out of capital weakens the leverage of the entrepreneur.

The hardest challenge Agrawal faced during his journey with SirionLabs was to learn how to devolve responsibility to the people that one works with. He believes that it is good to micro-manage and good to be intense about the details and the alternate user experience and the quality of the product but he believes that it is not good to control every aspect of every decision to reach that destination. "It is particularly difficult when you know what is the right thing to do but you have to resist the temptation and let the person do what he has to do," added Agrawal.

According to Agrawal, the easiest round of funding he raised was the Series A round. He felt that Series B and Series C rounds were relatively tougher. He added that if the ship of innovation is perpendicular to that of the flow of demand, the dollars would not fall in the ship.

The journey SirionLabs embarks on is one of building from its initial growth and ensuring that the foundations of SirionLabs are appropriate for hyper-scaling. The company aspires for a public offering in the next two to three years.