The Common Paper blog

Meet Common Paper

Introducing our structured contract platform, open source standards, and the seed funding to make it all happen.

tl;dr: We believe in a world where contracts are APIs, and we’re building the platform to make it a reality. I’m delighted to announce the launch of our structured contract platform and open source Cloud Service Agreement. Plus, we raised a $4.5 million seed funding round from some incredible investors who share our vision.

We started Common Paper to tackle a massive pain point that we experienced firsthand at numerous companies spanning many different stages. While building RJMetrics (acquired by Magento, now part of Adobe) and Stitch (acquired by Talend), we watched our sales team become legal project managers, shepherding negotiations instead of delighting our customers and advancing our deals. 

The process of transacting with customers was bogged down in a morass of redlined Microsoft Word documents, and it became increasingly difficult to keep track of what we promised to whom. Things came to a head 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.

We’re tackling this problem and bringing contracts into the 21st century. Our vision is that contracts should be APIs, programmatically interacting with every core business system and function that they impact. We’re pursuing two closely related tracks to make that a reality:  

  • Creating standard, open source contracts with structured cover pages that bring clarity to the process of contracting
  • Building a contract platform that leverages this structured data to help vendors and customers get on the same page faster than ever before

Standard contracts that are a joy to use

Whether in startup financings (SAFE) or open-source software (Apache 2.0), standards in contracting have arrived and are here to stay. It’s time for commercial contracts to follow.

Last summer, we launched our first standard contract, the Common Paper Mutual NDA. From pre-seed founders to attorneys at multibillion-dollar companies, the feedback was clear: This is a game changer that will save time and reduce risk for both sides. 

“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

Today, we’re thrilled to launch our platform publicly and introduce our newest standard contract: The Cloud Service Agreement (CSA). The CSA gives any company selling cloud software a clear, highly structured agreement designed to accelerate negotiation and close. 

Every Common Paper contract is built in collaboration with a committee of experienced attorneys who share our vision for focusing on substance over semantics. The committee is the cornerstone of our efforts and we couldn’t do this without them.

The CSA, just like the NDA and all of our future standard contracts, is released under a Creative Commons license for anyone to download and use without limitation. 

A platform built on structure

Starting today, our structured contract platform is available for anyone to use. Common Paper uses the structured data inside our standard contracts as fundamental building blocks to create, negotiate, and sign contracts faster. This unlocks a level of automation and programmatic access that’s not possible when working with bespoke contracts in unstructured PDFs or Word documents.

“Common Paper didn’t just make my NDA process easier, but improved my legal protection.”

Josh Benamram, CEO at Databand

Backed by World-Class Investors

Our $4.5 million seed funding round was co-led by Boldstart Ventures and Uncork Capital. This is our third time working with Boldstart and Uncork, who previously funded RJMetrics and Stitch.

We also had participation from an amazing group of angel investors, 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). 

This financing has helped us grow the team to eight phenomenal team members, and we’re still hiring

Try it out

We’re building the fastest way to get on the same page, and we’re excited to bring more folks on board. If you’d like a better way to enter into NDAs or buy and sell cloud software, try Common Paper for free.