- Pergamin is a Polish document management platform founded in 2017 and built on the principles of automation.
- The company recently held its first seed funding round and earned a total of €660k from investors JR Holding and Nunatak Capital.
It’s inevitable that newer technology will eventually find its way into most modern services, but AI might just be a contender for the fastest adoption and widespread use, and this is considering that the technology is still in its nascency.
It’s genuinely fascinating to see how machine learning, in particular, is being used to breathe new life into comparatively older technology and provide the opportunity for startups to get a leg up on the competition by starting off with AI as one of its core tenets, something that’s ingrained into the fundamentals of their service, as opposed to being an add-on with limited or unknown future support.
Contract management platforms are one such industry that’s been around since at least the 90s, and while I’m sure there have been immense innovations and improvements over the years, automation is without a doubt the most exciting prospect as of right now.
One of the companies that have been on top of this in Europe is Pergamin, the Polish full-service platform for data-driven contract automation.
Founded back in 2017, the company aims to address the most common problems with contract management.
“We turn old-school contracts from static data into a dynamic format, which identifies all key information. This allows for better insight, better analytics, and acceleration of the document creation process. For example: large companies have entire departments that deal with finding key data in legacy contracts. We mark these data at the stage of creating a contract – eg deadlines, payments, data of the parties. This makes everyone more informed and allows for easy data exchange with other systems. People come to us for e-signature and stay for contract management & contract automation”, shares one of the company’s co-founders, Antoni Wędzikowski.
Wędzikowski explains that currently, the platform uses data to create simple, but efficient automation that’s based on decision trees and integration with external databases. They’ve also made a tool that uses NLP (Natural Language Processing – a subset of AI) to help users automatically create templates from their paper or PDF contracts. Even more features are already being worked on, with the company’s co-founder specifically mentioning ones relating to reporting, analytics, and compliance.
“With the newly obtained funding, we want to invest in product development, including new data analytics features, utilizing machine learning algorithms, and further growth. Our plan for this year is to increase market share, become more product-driven and hire the best talents out there. Last year’s events supercharged digital transformation processes at most companies, and it proved there is a huge market opportunity for what we do (and a lot of education to do as well)”.
Managing Partner at Nunatak Capital Piotr Ciżkowicz is also excited about the investment, sharing that in a recent report by Forrester (2020), almost 70% of companies use an e-signature technology to some extent.
According to Piotr, this rarely applies to the contract management process. In fact, as a result, 9 out of 10 firms run manual agreement processes. For him, the key to realizing the potential of this technology is the changing perception of the contract management process from document-oriented, where the main carrier and product of the process is a closed document, to data-driven, where subsequent stages of the process are based on data flow and transformation, and the contract itself is only a way of presenting this data. Piotr adds that this approach allows the use of AI (in particular, the so-called Natural Language Processing) to create tools that support contract management.
“Contract management automation solutions will undoubtedly become more and more popular. The electronic signature will become a common (maybe even freely) available tool, which will not constitute a unique value proposition for customers. Much more emphasis will be placed on integrating the contract creation and management processes with other processes, based not only on RPA [Robotic Process Automation], but also IPA (Intelligent Process Automation). Data-driven contract management will become a part of a longer chain of interconnected intelligent process automations.
Contracts will be customized and filled with data not by humans but by bots. Verification of signers and their authorizations will also be automated and integrated into the process. Contract management, updating, and analysis will also be carried out automatically, providing full and up-to-date management information without tedious and error-prone human work.”
Pergamin is a great example of how a fresh take on an existing technology can open up the possibility for deeper and more profound integration. It’s precisely this near-organic way of creating, using, and thinking about tech – moving away from manual data entry and into increasingly intelligent and self-scrutinizing automation – that promises to revolutionize not only how we work, but also how we think about work in broader terms.
Something like Pergamin is just one ingredient of many, but streamlining and supercharging the processes around creating, signing, and managing documents is already a very promising proposition. As part of a larger ecosystem of business-related automation, it currently sits as an example of what a key component in the future of how we work looks like.