EXCLUSIVE: This Indian unicorn helping Google, Microsoft and Apple manage their contracts is hiring⁠— it needs techies as well as people in sales

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EXCLUSIVE: This Indian unicorn helping Google, Microsoft and Apple manage their contracts is hiring⁠— it needs techies as well as people in sales
Icertis employees celebrating the Series E round of funding that valued the company at $1 billionIcertis
  • Icertis, which caters to the likes of Apple, Airbus, Microsoft and Best Buy, plans to increase its headcount by 30% to 40% in 2021.
  • Most of this hiring will be done for engineering and sales.
  • The uptake of employees comes as Icertis’ looks to move beyond its enterprise clients and focus on the mid-market segment.
Icertis, the billion-dollar unicorn based out of Pune in India, which manages contracts for bigwigs like Apple, Airbus, Microsoft and Best Buy has plans to increase its headcount by at least 30% in 2021.

Over the last year, the company has added over 300 employees globally, with at least 50 being hired from Indian campuses. Before 2020 comes to an end, Icertis intends to add another 200 employees to its 1,300-strong headcount.

“We’ll continue to hire aggressively to support our growth and expect to increase our headcount 30% to 40% in the next year,” co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of Icertis, Monish Darda, told Business Insider in an exclusive interview. This means onboarding at least 450 new faces in 2021.

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The development at a time when the startup has plan to shift its focus on bringing more mid-market customers. The challenge there is that it takes at least 10 to 15 clients from that segment to bring the same amount of revenue as an enterprise client.

Software companies need to sell
For those who aren’t familiar with Icertis, the startup used artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to manage contracts on the cloud. Rather than keep track of compliance or payments on paper, everything is managed automatically by the company’s contract intelligence software-as-a-service (SaaS).

And, as a SaaS company, Darda believes being able to sell your product is a necessity for growth. “If you cannot sell, that’s the end of the company when you’re smaller… The ability to sell is critical for any company especially for an enterprise Saas company which is dependent on companies renewing every year — it’s not a perpetual license,” he explained.

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On the hunt for hunters and farmers
According to Darda, there are two types of salespeople — hunters and farmers. Hunters go out and convince the customer to buy new software like Icertis.

Farmers, on the other hand, reach out to clients that already have Icertis and grow the business by uncovering new ways and new value for the customer.

“When we hire, we hire at different levels. Experienced people for large accounts and people who may be capable of doing that a mid-level. This allows you to expand that pyramid and sell better,” explained Darda.

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Former Airbus and BMW procurement honcho Klaus Richter, for instance, has recently joined Icertis’ advisory board and can be profiled as a hunter. “He brings in a lot of raw experience into the company in how to cater to large deals,” according to Darda.

The freshers come in on the analytics side of sales. Their role is to rummage through raw data to figure out how sales are performing and what lies ahead to improve the efficiency of sales.

Cloud development is a skill that you have or don’t
Sales can help you expand your business but you need engineers to stay ahead of the competition.

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When Darda first joined Icertis, the first line of code he wrote was on Azure. And, the entire company is built on the cloud. According to him, cloud development is a skill that people have or don’t have. Candidates need to be able to think ten steps ahead and be proficient at what’s called ‘defensive programming’.

“How do you think about a problem and how do you solve a problem? Do you take care of what will happen under five different scenarios,” he explained.

And, since Icertis is a contract ‘intelligence’ company the value of having the basic computer skills to navigate the Microsoft Stack and the AI/ML stack, which consists of languages like R and Python, is a bare necessity.

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Icertis was among the seven international companies to dole out a placement offer at IIT Roorkee. And, the secret sauce to getting selected — more than the clout of being good at coding — is ‘elasticity’.

“The most important aspect that we look for is elasticity — how can people learn, especially when we’re hiring young people fresh out of college with very little industry experience,” said Darda.

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