Klarity CEO: Find an idea that will change the world. So stick with it

Five years ago, Andrew Antos was working on a brilliant idea. His new company, Klarity, would use artificial intelligence to review legal documents — starting with nondisclosure agreements — and save companies money that would otherwise have gone to lawyers or an in-house legal team. . The idea for the business was developed while Antos, a student at Harvard Law School, was enrolled in the New Enterprises course at MIT Sloan.

In 2020, Klarity had pivoted after finding that “selling SaaS to lawyers is very difficult,” Antos said. “Lawyers are the only people who actually enjoy reviewing documents – it’s their main job – and they don’t want to automate it.” Today, the company’s software still automates document review, but it focuses on reviewing contracts for the accounting function.

And it seems accounting professionals want it. Earlier this year, Klarity landed $18 million in Series A funding. The company is making $2 million and growing its annual recurring revenue. So even as venture capital funding slows, Antos is focusing on growing startups every day. We asked her to answer our series of questions about essential skills, new ideas, unexpected lessons and her daily routine.

What skill or ability has served you well in your job?

Anti-fragility. Building a business is a constant movement of one step forward, two steps back, and being anti-fragile is the most important thing to learn in dealing with such setbacks.

Anti-fragility occurs when a company not only survives a shock, but also benefits from it. Even when things are going well, you get one setback after another. If you are weak, you give up quickly. If you are strong, you give up after a longer period. I have seen this over and over again. If you are anti-fragile, you can go on forever because every setback makes you better and stronger. This is essential because business is an infinite game.

What is the hardest lesson you have learned in your professional life? How did you unexpectedly grow out of it?

Business sales. It took me three years to learn how to generate leads, qualify customers, run proofs of concepts, negotiate and close deals. The unexpected learning was that I improved a lot in communication.

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Communication is essential for every founder and leader. So that your team, your customers, etc. do what you want, they must first understand what you want them to do. I spend a lot of time trying to empathize with people and understanding how they see the world and what’s important to them. This allows me to send them a message that they understand.

The core of the Klarity product started like this: we would go to accounting teams and ask them what their document review workflow was like. We asked questions like: Do you read a lot of material? If yes, what do you do with it? Is there an exit? What are the main issues with this workflow? How would you describe the pain points?

What we finally discovered is that the “work to be done”, according to Clayton Christensen’s nomenclature, is not really the examination of documents – it is necessary but not sufficient – but rather the completion of ‘revenue checklist’ which is populated by excerpts from the document but also many other data points from different systems.

How do you and your team track new ideas?

Ideas are important, but execution is 10 million times more important. We use a combination of Zoom calls, Asana collaboration software, and spreadsheets to make sure we’re performing well.

What routine makes you happy, healthy or productive? Why?

Train daily before you start working out and fast intermittently from 8 p.m. to noon the next day. I only eat two meals and a few healthy snacks in between. I started because my co-founder made it, then I read about the science behind it and it made a lot of sense. That and the exercise help me stay healthy and productive.

How do you deal with stress, overload or burnout?

My daily workout routine and a disciplined approach to my daily schedule. I train every day from 6am to 7am or 7pm to 8pm and have a standing treadmill where I try to put in at least five hours a day. I try to have a good mix of cardio and weightlifting. I set aside at least two hours of focus time each day (usually mid-afternoon) so I can get things done as well.

What are your most useful sources of news and information?

Bloomberg has the best balance of relevant news for a business leader. It’s all seen from a commercial angle, and it’s delivered in a very digestible way.

At MIT Sloan, we talk about ideas made to matter – ideas that are carefully developed and have a meaningful impact in the world. In this context, what makes your idea count?

I fundamentally believe that there are only two things that matter. Un: Are you working on an idea that has the potential to fundamentally change the world for the better? And two: stick with this idea for a long time. For Klarity, the central idea has never changed: we believe that humans waste a lot of time and effort reading documents that don’t matter and we can use artificial intelligence to automate it. , thereby unleashing huge amounts of human potential. It’s been six years since we started. Everything except this basic idea has changed: target market, GTM movement, etc.

Now our customers like Coupa, 8×8, and DoorDash are saving two to three days on each month-end accounting close, saving 87% or more of the time previously spent reviewing documents, and creating a single source of truth for all of their income. data and documents.

Read: This CEO is transparent and open to crowdsourcing ideas

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