Episode 39

Legal Process Orchestration: Sagi Eliyahu, CEO & Co-founder, Tonkean (w/ cohost Akshay Verma)

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Sagi Eliyahu, CEO and co-founder of Tonkean, an enterprise intake orchestration platform for legal teams and more. 
  • This episode is co-hosted by Spotdraft COO Akshay Verma.
  • Becoming a diehard 49ers fan after immigrating to the United States later in life.
  • Drawing analogies between football and business strategy.

Understanding how the immigrant experience shapes your business acumen: 6:16

  • Moving to Silicon Valley from Israel after his startup employer was acquired by a US company.
  • Turning a dream of relocating to SF as a young entrepreneur into a reality.
  • Recognizing the overlap between immigrant communities and entrepreneurs.
  • Bringing resourcefulness, experience, and a fresh perspective.
  • Gravitating to an area that attracts ambitious, like-minded individuals with shared goals.

Founding Tonkean and focusing your sales efforts on legal: 15:13

  • Finding an unexpected route to developing a product for legal.
  • Emphasizing your company’s point of view over your business idea.
  • Creating a tech product at Tonkean that focuses on people, not data.
  • Shifting into the legal space after recognizing the need to address problem areas orchestrate siloed operations.

Defining process orchestration and contrasting it with automation: 21:13

  • Imagining processes like an orchestra that unites the independent efforts of different instruments.
  • Discerning when people use “process automation” to refer to digitizing tasks, as opposed to taking something manual and making it automatic.
  • Comparing complex legal processes to an assembly line.
  • Expanding your understanding of process to include intake requests and contract completion.
  • Orchestrating dependencies as automated work shifts from one team to another.
  • Discussing orchestration difficulties at Facebook.

Working with customers to orchestrate processes: 26:26

  • Identifying challenges encountered by early tech adopters and large organizations.
  • Optimizing intake procedures as a company becomes more complex and integrates more products into their workflow.
  • Viewing legal as a customer support function and drawing connections between legal intake and customer support tiers. 
  • Incorporating legal policies written on paper into your automated workflow.

Taking a pragmatic approach to using AI and machine learning: 36:44

  • Viewing AI as the latest iteration in a timeline of technology.
  • Designing systems that allow AI to take care of simple processes, aid in simple requests, and free up staff to better connect with clients.
  • Considering AI as an employee whose tasks and access are given a definitive scope that incorporates a review mechanism.
  • Arguing against the popular belief that AI will replace human jobs.

Contemplating when data sets will be strong enough to give AI reliable judgment: 45:15

  • Understanding the necessity for human judgment to assess data and outcomes.
  • Acknowledging that the corporate world changes faster than policies and laws.
  • Identifying the tasks, like reviewing NDAs, that AI can already accomplish.
  • Asking AI to complete tasks versus asking AI for strategic advice.
  • Finding scalable ways to leverage the flexibility that AI offers.
  • Changing your understanding of jobs as tasks that can be replaced.
  • Considering ways to use AI to replace the RFP process.

Book recommendations: 58:12

  • Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson.

What you wish you had known as a young founder: 1:00:55

  • Fully realizing the concept of being early to the market.
  • Understanding how far your vision is from the market and when it will become the norm.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Akshay Verma
Head of Legal Operations, Coinbase
Sagi Eliyahu
CEO and Co-founder, Tonkean

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