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Contract management is the 'next big enterprise software category': Fmr. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Icertis CEO and Co-Founder, Samir Bodas, joined Yahoo Finance's Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer to discuss why contract management is the next big software category and how Icertis fits into the marketplace.

Video Transcript


ANDY SERWER: I'm here with Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce and the new board member of a company called Icertis. Also joined by Samir Bodas, who is the CEO of Icertis. welcome to both of you.

PENNY PRITZKER: Thank you for having us.

SAMIR BODAS: Thank you for having us. Thank you.

ANDY SERWER: Penny, let me start with you. Can you tell us what Icertis is, what they do, and why you're joining the board?

PENNY PRITZKER: Sure, well, there's three reasons that I'm really excited about at Icertis. First is the category they're in, second is the company, and the third is the people. You know, contracts, Icertis is in the business of helping you manage your contracts, and contracts are at the heart of all things commerce. Contract management is, in my mind, the next big enterprise software category. Mirroring data, insight, risk management allows companies to optimize their business decisions and creates tremendous efficiency for enterprise companies.

Second is, it's a great company in terms of the-- it's the contract management leader as evidenced by its customers, its channel partners, the talent the company has been able to attract, and in fact, Forrester just named Icertis the clear leader in its category in the Forrester Wave Report.

And then finally, the people. And you'll hear from Samir, but the people are amazing. You know, the team that Samir has brought together just has phenomenal leadership, great culture, incredible energy, passion for what they're doing, and extraordinary customer focus. So I'm very excited about the future of Icertis.

ANDY SERWER: Samir, what is the opportunity for the company? What do you guys see as the most promising lines of business, and how does that all work?

SAMIR BODAS: Yeah, and great question. So the category itself is about a $20 billion category. And we are the leaders. And the number of contracts that we have under management are about 10 million, with a total contract value of about a trillion dollars. And we service customers in 90 countries and 40 languages to essentially help them take their contracts and make sure that the intent of every contract is fully realized.

And think of this as a very horizontal category. Every industry vertical in every geography and every company does contracts. And you need a system, a software system, to manage those contracts. It's very similar to a CRM category, which every customer needs, right? And that's the size of the opportunity, $20 billion in TAM and growing, actually, at 30% year over year.

ANDY SERWER: Penny, you guys both have a Microsoft connection, right? I'm wondering if you know each other from Microsoft, number one. And number two, you have a lot of different opportunities that must come your way. What was it about this company that actually made you take the leap?

PENNY PRITZKER: Well, you know, actually, our Microsoft commonality, if you will, is nice, but frankly, you know, what really got me enthusiastic about Icertis was, as I said, the category, which you've just heard Samir talk about, but most importantly, Samir and his leadership and his commitment to really a strong integrity-led culture that has a very open and transparent communication style and a massive passion for delivering upon the potential of creating insights for businesses about their contracts and helping them maximize the potential of their contracts. So the potential of this opportunity is very large, but frankly, it's most important to me also to do this with people who I really respect and trust.

ANDY SERWER: Samir, Karen Smith, the general counsel of Twilio, also joined the board. And Penny was just talking about the culture. Can you kind of dig into that a little bit more and talk about your board and what kind of culture you hope to build at Icertis?

SAMIR BODAS: Yeah, I know. That's a great question. And our culture is sort of encapsulated in our values. And our values are sort of called-- we have sort of an acronym for it, called FORTE, which is Fairness, Openness, Respect, Teamwork, and Execution. Now these are big words, because fairness to you might mean different fairness to me. Or respect in Japan is very different respect in Australia or America.

And what we believe is that we define Fairness, Openness, Respect, Teamwork, and Execution in our vision. And that sort of comes out as our culture so that every assertion, make sure that whether it is with ourselves, but then within the company, with a customer, with a supplier, or with the community, we behave and deliver what we do with FORTE.

And our board kind of reflects that. And thank you, Penny, for those kind words and joining the board. And Karen Smith, as you mentioned, joins us from Twilio. She's the general counsel at Twilio. And what we wanted is somebody who, of course, emobdied FORTE. But what's wonderful is she's a sitting general counsel at Twilio. And as you can imagine, contracts sort of originate in business, but legal is substantially involved in that.

So we are really excited to have her on board to guide us with respect to the product. The guidance where future of contracting is, because this category is going to evolve a lot when we think about it from what AI and ML can do, where you can read what's inside a contract, and the software system can make sense of what it is and then look outside the contract in the real world and say, hey, is what's in the contract actually happening in the real world? Is there more opportunity? Is there some risk, et cetera, et cetera.

So we are very excited about the whole board with Penny and Karen joining, with our culture, and then really building a very enduring, compelling company that is high growth and is consequential.

ANDY SERWER: Last question to you, Penny, and maybe sort of jumping off that last point that Samir made, what is the future of this company? Are you looking to do an IPO soon or maybe a SPAC in this year? What do you see down the road?

PENNY PRITZKER: Well, I think the company has lots of potential options. Right now, we're really, really focused on our customers and making sure that we're delivering for the customers on a day-to-day basis. But we're continuing to develop our governance and our capabilities so that we can take advantage of many different potential options for the business.

ANDY SERWER: Penny Pritzker, a former commerce secretary, a board member of Icertis, and Samir Bodas, CEO of Icertis, thank you both so much for your time, and best of luck to you.


SAMIR BODAS: Thanks very much.