There and back again, again — welcome Common Paper
A little over three years ago I welcomed Bob Moore back to the Uncork portfolio with his startup Crossbeam and today I’m delighted to announce that Jake Stein, the (taller) other half of the dynamic ex-RJ Metrics duo, has graciously allowed Uncork Capital back into the boat as seed co-lead of his new startup Common Paper.
Jake has been an Uncork founder since 2010 (!) when Jeff backed RJ Metrics, a Philadelphia-based business intelligence startup that was acquired by Magento and eventually became part of the Adobe Commerce platform. Bob joined Magento as part of that transaction while Jake continued the entrepreneurial journey, spinning out a nascent ETL product called Stitch that was later acquired by Talend.
Throughout both company’s journeys, Jake saw time and again that his commercial team became untrained legal project managers, shepherding contract negotiations instead of delighting their customers and advancing deals.
Due to a lack of standardization (and software, beyond Microsoft Word and a sea of redlines and minor markups), it has become increasingly difficult and time-consuming for companies to keep track of what has been promised to whom. Jake cites a great example when “a Fortune 100 company acquired one of our customers and we went through a nine-month contract negotiation just to enable them to continue using our product.”
Enter Common Paper, sophisticated yet simple workflow software that breaks down commercial contracts into their atomic, negotiable units and allows them to be executed as APIs. What does this mean in plain English? Standardized open-source contract templates — written by a committee of in-house and law firm experts — and software that picks out and manages the negotiation of key, negotiable points (think term of contract, governing law, liability limit, etc).
And why APIs? Because ultimately this negotiation can happen inside the software you and your customer uses (think inside your CRM or ERP system) or even automagically via a rules engine or AI. All negotiable points are saved to a database and can be easily retrieved for reporting, benchmarking and diligence.
Today Common Paper is launching their platform publicly and introducing their newest standard contract: The Cloud Service Agreement (CSA). Sitting alongside their first standard contract, the open-source Mutual Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA), the CSA gives any company selling cloud software a clear, highly structured agreement designed to accelerate negotiation and close.
This is incredibly exciting as it turns contracting from a rote legal headache to a commercial advantage, meaning sales teams can close more deals faster:
“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.” — Kelly Martin, Managing Counsel at Figma
We’re delighted to back Jake and his co-founder Ben Garvey, investing alongside OG enterprise seed legend Ed Sim of Boldstart Ventures and a number of amazing angel investors including including 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).
Common Paper are building the fastest way to get on the same page, and they’re excited to bring more companies on board today. If you’d like a better, faster way to enter into NDAs or buy and sell cloud software, try Common Paper for free.