1630 – Taking Away The Pain of NDA’s with NDAOK’s James Weir

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the CEO and Founder of ndaOK, James Weir

James discusses that ndaOK is an automated platform designed to streamline the process of reviewing and revising NDAs. The platform primarily serves investment banks, private equity firms, and enterprise sales organizations, which deal with a high volume of annual NDAs.

Before NDA OKAY, the process of reviewing NDAs was tedious and time-consuming. It often involved back-and-forth communication between parties, creating friction and slowing sales transactions. ndaOK simplifies this process by using a combination of artificial intelligence and legal professionals to review and redline documents, saving time and effort for their clients.

James highlighted the advantages of using their service for consistent and reliable NDAs. He explained that businesses often need to be made aware of why specific changes need to be made in their NDAs. NDA OKAY provides a solution to this problem by ensuring that the things businesses care about are present in every NDA, or not, based on their preferences. The NDAs are also revised and edited to meet the specific requirements of each business.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • ndaOK as an automated platform for reviewing and revising non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
  • The platform simplifies the process of reviewing NDAs and saves time and effort for clients
  • Users can upload NDAs and receive a marked-up version that conforms to their specific requirements

About James Weir:

James Weir is the Founder and CEO of ndaOK, a groundbreaking solution for processing nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). With a diverse background in legal services, technology, and professional services, Weir identified the challenges and inefficiencies associated with the NDA process after reviewing thousands of NDAs throughout his legal career.

Weir's frustration with the issues caused by NDAs, such as deals falling through the cracks, bottlenecks in the M&A process, and excessive time spent on routine legal work, led him to create ndaOK. This innovative platform is the first of its kind, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) through OpenAI's GPT-3 to simplify and streamline the entire NDA workflow.

By leveraging AI capabilities, ndaOK eliminates the administrative headaches caused by constant back-and-forth communication in the NDA process. Users can easily send, review, approve, execute, and track NDAs, saving time and effort for both legal professionals and businesses. Weir's goal with ndaOK is to provide a comprehensive solution that optimizes the NDA process, ensuring efficiency, risk management, and improved business outcomes.

James Weir's expertise lies in building high-performing teams, managing risk, and finding creative solutions to complex problems. He has a proven track record of successfully managing multi-faceted teams, establishing strategic partnerships, driving revenue growth and enhancing operational efficiency. With ndaOK, Weir aims to revolutionize the way NDAs are processed, offering a valuable tool that generates significant value for businesses across various industries.

About ndaOK:

ndaOK is a revolutionary solution developed by a team of legal and technology experts to simplify and streamline reviewing and processing nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). It addresses the common challenges and frustrations associated with NDAs, such as the time-consuming back-and-forth communication and the need to review, approve, and sign multiple documents.

Whether it's your own NDA or one received from another party, ndaOK aims to make the process effortless and automated. Sending an NDA is as simple as entering an email address and clicking “send.” If you receive an NDA, you can easily upload it to ndaOK for quick and convenient review. The platform handles the entire workflow, allowing you to focus on more important tasks while waiting for the fully executed document to arrive in your inbox.

The ndaOK team understands the challenges businesses face when dealing with NDAs and has designed the platform to eliminate the headache and monotony associated with these agreements. By providing a user-friendly and automated solution, ndaOK aims to make the world of NDAs easier and more efficient, ensuring a smoother process for businesses engaging in sales discussions, partnerships, or any other endeavors requiring NDAs.

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out ndaOK website at

Check out ndaOK on LinkedIn at

Check out James Weir on LinkedIn at

Check out James Weir on Instagram at

Check out James Weir on Twitter at

Check out James Weir on Facebook at

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Speaker (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. James, Weir. James, you are the CEO and founder of ndaOK. Your website is ndaOK, James, thank you so much for joining us. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me. All right. I think just based on the name, folks can probably guess what NDA.

Speaker (00:01:20) - Okay, does. But I'll we'd love to hear it from you. Yeah, it should be obvious ndaOK is in short, just an automated platform for reviewing and revising non-disclosure agreements. So we work primarily with investment banks, private equity firms, companies that have to and enterprise sales organizations, companies that that have the process, you know, hundreds of NDAs each year. And we make that process simple for them by using a combination of artificial intelligence and legal professionals to review and redline documents for them so that they don't have to. So what before? What are what are folks typically doing? So the current process, well before the process was tedious. It was painful, it was time consuming. It was a major nuisance. People would well back up a second one. When an investment bank goes out with a potential deal, they'll reach out to, you know, 1 to 200 potential buyers. But before those buyers can actually look at the deal and learn what company they're they're evaluating, they have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Speaker (00:02:34) - So the four firms would have their associates read the agreement. You know, maybe maybe they had some guidance from a lawyer, you know, a playbook that they would use and they would review the document, mark it up and send it back to the investment bank, who would then have to either send it to it to their client or review it themselves. And it was just a it's a massive pain to go back and forth for for a document that has, you know, very little value ultimately. Yeah, right. That's my observation, is that typically when I hear, you know, folks are talking about NDAs, you know, kind of like the standard language is, yeah, here's a standard NDA, you can go ahead and sign that. You know, it's almost like I think most people like me, like I've signed to NDAs and I don't get my attorney to review it because I'm like, I'm not going to first off, I'm not going to say anything. Like, I don't even want to say anything.

Speaker (00:03:26) - It's like, it's ridiculous. I feel it's always seems kind of silly to me. Yeah, because I'm like, It's a gatekeeper, right? It's it's, hey, we're going to be on our best behavior. We're not going to do anything underhanded. But, you know, the enforcing them is really difficult. How do you how do you know who spread your information? So it's it's really it's kind of toothless, but you can't convince people to not do it. They're they're used to doing it. It's part of their process. So our mission is just to make that easier for them to take that pain away. And if you can do it quickly and you can do it efficiently, then those agreements have some more value then then it's worth doing. But if it takes you 2 or 3 days to review it and get, you know, and you have to go back and forth 3 or 4 times with a another, oh no, that value quickly goes away. Yeah. You know, James, you especially like let me kind of advocate on the sales side of this, right.

Speaker (00:04:20) - That sort of friction entered into a sales transaction. Oh, man. That 100% you're playing with fire in terms of like, you know, potentially. I mean, I mean, look, you might only lose a deal every once in a while, but still, why would you want to do that or just slow down the process? People want to get paid. People want to get started. You want to get to market, you know, that sort of thing. Just think of momentum, right? The idea in a previous life was the CFO of a software company. We were an enterprise software company. And so, you know, the software was very heavily customized for for our customers specific use cases. And every customer, you know, our salespeople would have a great preliminary call. And the customer, the potential customer would say, Oh, this is great. You know, we'd love to tell you why we need this Before we can do that, we need you to sign an NDA. And that basically puts a halt on all of your momentum.

Speaker (00:05:20) - And the longer it takes you to get that follow up meeting schedule, the longer it takes you to keep that conversation going harder. It is to keep that momentum alive. And so when I was CFO, I, I my background is in law. I practiced law for ten years in New York before moving to Austin, Texas. I handled all of our legal work, so I would drop everything to review that because I didn't want to be the bottleneck in that process for our sales team. But even, you know, as fast as I could go, inevitably just that process of saying, you know what, we got to take a pause in this conversation so that you can review and sign our NDA. You know, let's schedule a follow up call for, you know, two weeks from now that that really puts the brakes on a lot of a lot of those conversations. Yeah. Okay. Well, so again, just so I understand how, you know, how okay. Improves this process. So the way that I typically see this.

Speaker (00:06:20) - Right, is maybe there's like some sort of a PDF or certainly if we're in person, you know, you just kind of sign it or whatever. Um, like it like obviously you don't want I can only speak for myself and you know, I'm just not doing these gigantic deals where I need to, you know, kind of like red line everything with attorney. Like it's just it's very, very rare for me. But again, I may not be kind of that kind of that target audience for this solution, but my, you know, when I have done it, it's usually they send me a link, I look at it and kind of like I click the yellow sign here, puts my signature in there and I. Made it. How does Antioch improve on that process? Because that doesn't seem too painful for me. No. If you're just if you're getting a link through DocuSign and you're just signing it, that's, you know, that's not a painful process at all. Excuse me. For for most of our users, though, they're receiving an email.

Speaker (00:07:20) - Either they're the investment bank and they're sending out an NDA. They're they're a private equity firm. They're receiving the NDA or they're, you know, enterprise sales organization and they're receiving an NDA from a potential customer. Usually it's over email. It's it's a document that's in word, maybe it's in PDF and now it needs to be reviewed. And the I think the an interesting thing about it or an interesting thing about a lot of our customers is they claim to not really care much about these NDAs. They know that they're a nuisance. They know that they've got to get them done quickly. But there are 3 or 4, maybe five issues they really care about. And we've got to get this right every time. So which ends up being pretty much every document needs some revision to conform to those requirements. The way we work is our users tell us exactly what they care about. We don't we don't tell our users what they should or should not care about. And in NDA, they tell us it's their standard, it's their their unique requirements, whatever they may be.

Speaker (00:08:26) - And then when they receive an NDA, all they have to do is go to their account on ndaOK. Com, upload the NDA and then click review instantly. We will use our proprietary AI to review the document, identify the terms in the agreement and then mark it up so that it conforms to that user's requirements. And then once that's done, that user can either take that red line that we've generated and manage the communications, send it back to the counterparty, but we actually go a step further and that user can use NDA, okay, to actually transmit those edits to the counterparty, get their approval, and then both parties can sign electronically through ndaOK. When when an agreement has been reached. So for bankers and for private equity firms and for sales organizations, it's really as simple as uploading the NDA that they've received and just getting a notification when the process is done. Yeah. And can you share just a little bit more about like enforcement, like, you know, what is obviously legally you need to cover your bases.

Speaker (00:09:38) - It's just you have to do it right. But then, you know, does the process through and how does the process through NDA? Okay, NDA, okay. How does that make enforcement? I don't want to say enforcement, but just it maybe it does a better job of keeping people aligned or if there is a concern, you know, um, you know, where my ndaOK. Improve outcomes for someone who feels like, you know, just. Was, you know, violated in some way. Yeah, it's that's a really tough question because enforcement is a really difficult issue. You know, how do you know when somebody has, you know, spread your information and, you know, if your information gets out there, how do you know who was responsible for it? Enforcement is really tough, which is why NDAs have limited utility. They you know, there's limited value there because, you know, what are you going to do? You know, your remedy is to go sue them.

Speaker (00:10:41) - You know, you pretty much already had that remedy because you already own your your intellectual property. This is just kind of formalizing it in a contract rather than, you know, in some other form. The bigger piece that I think our users really care about and what what helps with not necessarily enforcement, but but protection is the consistency across the board. So let's say your sales organization or your private equity firm and you've got ten sales guys or you've got ten associates, and each one is a playbook that, you know, and they're reviewing their NDA, or maybe you've even got a legal department and you've got, you know, maybe you're a large organization, you've got ten lawyers reviewing NDAs. Chances are they're not going to be consistently marked up across the board. They're going to be things that either get missed or, you know, one person interprets something this way, another interprets it the other way. There's you know, and especially if you're using non-lawyers to do it, it's not their job. They're playing lawyer.

Speaker (00:11:46) - And and at the end of the day, they're going to make mistakes. They're going to they're not necessarily they're not necessarily going to understand why certain changes need to be made. And so one of the things that a key advantage for using something like NDA or, you know, another service provider is to get that consistency across the board so that the things that you care about are in every NDA or not in every NDA. You know, they're, they're either present or they're not. And and they're they're revised and edited so that we're giving you and you get exactly what you're looking for every time. Yeah. And today, For now. Okay. As a business, how have you obviously you've got some you know, you're doing some great work, you've got great a great client base. But how do you take how have you taken this to market? You know, how do you attract new clients? Yeah. You know, that's in part, you know, we have a solution that addresses a major pain point for, you know, again, investment banks, private equity firms, sales organizations, they don't really need a lot of convincing, you know, to know that it's a problem for them.

Speaker (00:12:59) - You know, I when I talk to people about it, one of two things happens. Either I say, you know, hey, you know, I run, okay? And we built an automated solution for processing non-disclosure agreements and either their eyes gloss over and I know, okay, this isn't a problem. They have they they don't sign a lot of NDAs. They don't know just how painful and and what a hassle they are. Or they light up and they say, oh, tell me more. That's a problem that we have. There's such a nuisance, there's such a pain. How can we make that easier? And so at that point, it's really just a matter of saying, look, we can just take that off your plate so that you don't have to even think about it. Yeah. All right. So. And how do you mean structure, pricing, engagement, like that sort of thing. Like implementation. How our. Our onboarding process is super easy. You know, we just need to have a we can do it in a short 20 minute conversation, really just understanding what issues you care about.

Speaker (00:14:05) - And we'll run you through kind of a, you know, a gamut of, you know, what potential, you know, the various nuances in certain terms and you know what you're willing to accept, what you're not willing to accept. And once we have that conversation, we build what we call a review standard, and our users can build as many of those as they want. So if they, you know, maybe they have different requirements based on different scenarios. So if it's a, you know, a one way NDA, they they require certain things. If it's a mutual NDA, they required different things. We can account for all of those. We just build different review standards based on on the scenario and then you're ready to go. Then every time you upload a document, you choose what standard you want to use. Again, they're your unique standards. They're not, you know, things that we've told you are good or bad. And then every document will be reviewed to that to those requirements.

Speaker (00:15:01) - Pricing we keep simple as well. We have a couple of different options. Some of our users, they're used to using lawyers, they're used to using other services. So they like to pay on a per document basis. We can accommodate that. Um, other users like to pay, just have a flat, you know, monthly, you know, SaaS fee and we work with them that way as well based on, you know, what kind of volume they they're doing. I should point this out, James, you have a pretty qualified background that led you to this. Do you mind sharing a little bit about kind of where Antioch came from and like you were the guy to bring it to market? Yeah, it's it's not something I set out to do, you know, but but kind of my, my professional background just kind of brought me to this, this point. I started my career as a lawyer in New York. I was a securities attorney, practice for ten years in New York before moving here to Austin, when you know and in making that move, I decided I didn't really want to do it anymore.

Speaker (00:16:08) - I kind of I'd done it long enough. I could see the horizon. I knew what the next kind of 30 years of my life was going to look like and it wasn't what I wanted. So in making the move here, I decided to try my hand at different things. I first started as the COO of a early stage technology company that was using a great company called Smarter Sorting. Give them a little plug to. And they were using artificial intelligence. They still are using artificial intelligence to identify and categorize household hazardous waste, things that need to be incinerated and incinerated at pretty high cost. So we were using AI to identify those products and sort them into better waste or more efficient waste streams. I then moved over and became the CFO of a enterprise software company that was doing edge computing and Iot. And that's where, as the CFO who handled all the legal work, I was dealing with 2 or 3 NDAs a week. And after two and a half years of that, I realized there's got to be a better way.

Speaker (00:17:21) - They were such a nuisance and there's such standardized agreements that, you know, I think a lot of people look at them and just say, you know what? They're all the same. I'm not going to you know, I'm not going to spread this other person's information. They just sign it and move on. Um, but you kind of have to review it because there were some crazy stuff that I saw in a few, you know, one every 50 would have something kind of bonkers in there that you really didn't want to want to have. Yeah. So you still had to review them. It was just such an inefficient and painful process that I realized there's got to be a better way. So I started kicking around the idea for an automated solution that could use AI to do this. And I contacted the advisor for that first company, Smarter Sorting, the Advisor. His name's Russell Smith. He's a he'll probably hate me for describing him this way, but he's a semi-retired guy in LA that has seen a million of these things and he takes on projects that he's interested in.

Speaker (00:18:25) - He was the first employee at Wolfram Alpha. He built the data platform for TrueCar, so he's seen a million of these things. And I just reached out to say, look, you know, I've got this idea in artificial intelligence, do this. Can can it read a contract and identify problems and revise it? When I was half hoping he was going to say no technology. You know, the current state of AI, you know, can't do that. And I could just kind of move on with my life and move on. Instead, he said, yes, that's exactly the sort of routine, monotonous, um, you know, administrative headache kind of thing that artificial intelligence should be doing. That's exactly the kind of work that it should be taking away from us. And he was excited by it and wanted to help launch it. And so I thought, well, shoot, if if he thinks it's a good idea, then I kind of have to do it because he's he's seen a million of these things.

Speaker (00:19:27) - And that was that was late 2019. And then we spent the next six months, you know, kicking the tires on it, making, you know, validating who else has this problem, you know, where, you know, is it just me or do other people suffer through these things as much as I have? And we really validated that. Yeah, this is kind of a universal problem. NDAs make up over 90% of the contracts that are signed on a daily basis, right? I mean, our private equity users, they're signing, you know, four to 4 to 600 NDAs a year. I don't know how many investments they're doing, but they're not doing you know, they're not doing that many. So, you know, it represents the single NDAs are the single most frequent. Legal problem most companies face. So and that's that's how we got started. And, you know, I never set out to to start a company, but it was really just kind of the accumulation of all those experiences coming together.

Speaker (00:20:28) - Well, James Weir, again, you're the founder and CEO of ndaOK. The website is ndaOK. Right on the front page there, you'll see a button that says request a demo. James, congrats. And it's great having you as a guest on the podcast. Thank you so much for joining us. It's been great. Thanks very much, Josh. Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up My Influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the thoughtful entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day.

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