Vertex US Portfolio Spotlight: A Q&A with Jerry Ting, Evisort CEO and Co-founder

I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Jerry Ting, CEO and Co-founder of Evisort, for this inaugural post of our new Vertex US spotlight series.

Read on for an inside look at what inspired Jerry to start Evisort, including memories from his childhood:

Give us your elevator pitch — what does your company do?

Jerry Ting, Evisort CEO and Co-founder, fishing.

Evisort is the leading next-generation contract life-cycle management system that is powered by AI. We help create, negotiate, and manage contracts without manual data entry. With Evisort, teams can remove bottlenecks and contract more quickly and safely, increasing the speed of business by reducing deal cycles. Evisort can find contracts stored in different systems and classify them based on important information like key dates, subject matter, and type. Used by sales, legal, procurement, and finance teams, Evisort extracts important operational data and works across all documents, including proposals, contracts, and SOWs.

What sparked your idea to start the company?

I was in law school and shocked by how much manual work was required to understand and review contracts. I had studied to become a lawyer because I wanted to provide strategic advice to clients, but I found that a lot of the work was antiquated, manual, and repetitive. Importantly, I also learned that companies spend millions a year managing and negotiating contracts. For example, lawyers can charge upwards of $800/hour to review contracts and organizations could have hundreds of thousands of contracts to manage. What if we could use AI to automate this process and actually improve the quality of work being done?

If you were to draw a line from your current passion for this field back in time to a specific point in your youth, where would it go? Tell us about that memory.

My father is originally from Taiwan before he immigrated to the U.S. As he learned English in America, he built a small company, and we were always extremely proud of him for being a business owner. One day, a litigation-happy plaintiff hit my father with a baseless lawsuit, and I served as a translator for him as we went through the litigation process. We eventually settled for pennies, but what I learned was how important the law is and to have good legal services. Today, legal services are broken and unaffordable. I hope that with AI, we can improve the quality of work done by lawyers and business professionals while reducing costs.

When you were a kid, what did you think you’d grow up to be?

Originally, I wanted to be a doctor. I always loved biology and taking care of people, especially since two of my grandparents had cancer. Eventually, I realized I was pretty bad at organic chemistry, so med school was out of the question. I further realized that I could actually make a bigger impact on more people if I pursued a business career where I brought good products and services to the masses.

Where did you start your career? What was your first job in this industry?

My first job in the tech industry was an entry-level sales role. I worked at Yelp’s HQ in San Francisco, where I made 90 cold calls a day to try and sell ads to small businesses. Through that very valuable experience, I learned how to do full-cycle sales, meet buyers in a territory, and drum up business to close the contract. I still lean on this experience every day.

What unlikely/unexpected person or chance meeting affected your career path?

When I was in law school, it was frowned upon to think about any career but law. Everything we did was around law, so it was a sort of bubble. However, I met an alum who went off and became a consultant at BCG. I didn’t even know that was possible, but it got me thinking, what else can I do with a Harvard Law degree? I then went on to work as a consultant at BCG and never looked back. I find that many folks believe changing careers is difficult, but the world already puts such limitations on us, so there’s no point in limiting ourselves.

When you reflect on your life and work, what are you proud of?

I’m proud of having been able to recruit and retain some of the best employees in the world. The teammates I work with are some of the most brilliant, hardworking, and kind people I have ever met. I’m lucky to have this team and culture.

What additional impact does your company have that didn’t make it into your elevator pitch?

We’re automating what I think is the most painful part of a lot of professional services, which is repetitive manual work that needs to be done, but perhaps not by people. What if we told you that we could automate data entry? I think that would really improve the work quality of life for millions.

What’s something that your coworkers don’t know about you?

I am a professional photographer. My first job as an entrepreneur was actually running my own photography company, photographing clients.

What is your desert island book or movie?

The Monk and the Riddle.

You have a whole day at your disposal, but work isn’t allowed. What do you do?

Fishing, basketball, or hiking!

If you could solve one issue in the startup world by snapping your fingers, what would it be and why?

I would try to solve the hiring problem that we see so commonly. Often, there is brilliant talent who want to work with startups but don’t have a way of meeting these startups who also want to meet them.

Name and unpack one challenge in working at a startup that no one ever told you about?

Sometimes as a founder, it’s difficult to get time to do linear work. I spend more of my time collaborating with my team, but I’ve learned that I need to block out my calendar at times to sit down and focus on a project to deliver to execution.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten that you’d share again?

The only constant is change. We doubled in size every half year for the last two years. What worked two years ago looks alien to what we’re solving for now, and getting used to this is critical to leading a high-growth startup.

Thank you for the time, Jerry, and for sharing your story!

This was also published on LinkedIn.

Partner @ Vertex Ventures | Prior Corp Dev/M&A/BD @ Dropbox, Tesla, Juniper Networks, IBM Security and B2B startups