CEO and co-founder of netLex, Flávio Ribeiro. Photo: netLex/Courtesy

Brazilian startup netLex saw demand for contract management triple with remote work

netLex serves large companies such as BTG, MRV, Ambev, and wants to internationalize its operations

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With more people working remotely, as a way to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, several organizations have been pushed to digitizing a series of processes. Companies and platforms that already offered solutions for this, saw the demand for their services grow. This is the case of netLex, a Brazilian contract management tool focused on large organizations and which has seen sales more than triple over the past few months.

“From March to May, we didn’t sell practically anything, because people were scared. But when [the pandemic] became the ‘new normal’, we managed to [grow back], and we will continue to hit goals this year”, says the CEO and co-founder of netLex, Flávio Ribeiro, in an interview with LABS. According to Ribeiro, the startup should end 2020 with annualized recurring revenue of BRL 12 million.

netLex’s co-founder and CEO, Flávio Ribeiro. Photo: Courtesy

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With this growth, the company wants to raise new investments and debut on the international market in 2021. Founded in 2014, netLex started out differently from most startups. Instead of placing an MVP (minimum viable product) on the market and scaling it up, the company spent two years developing the product and launched it in early 2016. Two years later, it raised a Seed round led by Canary, and only in the past year it began to invest in marketing and commercial areas.

“We are holding [the funds], paying the bills, we have had a breakeven for two, three years now. We do not have such strong capital pressure, but when we start to internationalize we must raise [our first round] Series A, probably at the beginning of the next year”, said Ribeiro.

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Focused on enterprises, the startup serves more than 50 large organizations, from sectors such as civil construction and real estate (MRV), financial services (BTG Pactual, BNDES), automotive (Localiza, Mercedez-Benz), fuels (BR Distribuidora, Ipiranga), consumer goods (Ambev and OLX), mining and metallurgy (ArcelorMittal) and even agribusiness (C.Vale), among others.

“We are dealing with a problem that is not only of companies in Brazil, it is a global problem”, says Ribeiro. Many of the large netLex client companies have international operations. Thus, the startup took the opportunity to rehearse its first steps outside Brazil. “We serve Ambev’s arm in the United Kingdom. They had an Australian product similar to what we make. When they saw our product, which at that time was in Portuguese, they terminated the contract with the Australian company to use ours”.

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The hasty translation of the platform was the starting point for netLex’s internationalization strategy. “We are not putting our foot on the accelerator now in internationalization, we are walking organically with our customers because we see our product as something global,” he said. Latin America and Europe are on the startup’s roadmap.

netLex promises to reduce the trading cycle and increase productivity by 287%

When he acted as a lawyer, before founding netLex, Ribeiro realized the losses that ineffective contracts generated for companies, as he told LABS. He said that looking at companies, it was clear to him that the contractual flow of legal documents was poorly formatted in most of them.

I realized that, when it came to preparing documents, 80% of my time was almost a ‘copy and paste’, it was a puzzle of things that I already understood how it worked. That was the netLex’s seed. I was full of things to do and I wanted to optimize my work. I saw that this part of document production was a bottleneck, and that started to generate a business idea.

flávio ribeiro, ceo and co-founder of netlex.

netLex, according to Ribeiro, met this need. It makes the complete and digital management of the contracts – from the elaboration, review, negotiation, to the signature -, and in an integrated way, which includes a portal for the negotiation part and the electronic signature at the end of each contract cycle.

The CEO claims that the netLex product reduced customers’ negotiation cycle by half the time and increased productivity in document writing by 287%. The startup also manages to generate strategic intelligence for companies with the data extracted while using the platform.

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In a service provision contract, for example, netLex already knows how much it will have to be paid, the date, the values ​​month by month, and with that, it notifies the companies in advance. In addition to the financial information of the contracts, the platform captures other relevant data, as guarantees and special clauses, to generate BI (Business Intelligence) reports. Through them, netLex shows contractual problems to companies and suggests how to fix them.

With 20 employees, netLex integrated the boostLAB scale program, BTG Pactual’s acceleration program, in 2019, and now participates in Endeavor‘s Scale-Up. The idea is to close the year with 70 employees and better work on the startup’s commercial area. “We want to remove the lawsuits from the ‘1990s combo’, Excel, e-mail and Word, in order to keep this controlled within the platform. Give companies flexibility and capture data to generate intelligence.”