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There’s a lot of excitement right now about generative AI and its potential impact on businesses. But if you look beyond the hype and the high-profile deals like the one between OpenAI and PwC last week, you realize that the world has already been using customer-facing, code-free AI tools to extract information and work faster for years.

Now, one of the pioneers in this field, contract-focused Sirion Labs, is acquiring another pioneer in enterprise AI, Eigen Technologies. The company has so far focused on analyzing and extracting insights and data from documents in industries such as insurance, finance and legal.

The deal not only highlights the opportunity presented by the increasing demand for AI in the B2B market, but also a broader trend in enterprise IT. Currently, end users are opting for simpler one-stop shops rather than adopting multiple point solutions for their IT needs, leading to consolidation among those developing these solutions.

Eigen and Sirion are not disclosing financial terms of the deal, but below is relevant background information that tells part of the story.

London-based Eigen is led and co-founded by Dr. Lewis Liu, an Oxford PhD who studied both art and physics. While still a student, Liu invented a new X-ray laser, and some of his mathematical insights were then applied to the algorithms Eigen developed to extract and understand natural language.

You could call what the company has been doing for years generative AI, although that’s not the term the company uses. The startup’s no-code tools summarize and extract meaning from long and typically unstructured and arcane documents; Eigen has developed its own dataset and intelligence engine as the basis for this. It’s aimed at non-technical users – no data scientists are required to implement and use it – and typical use cases might be simple searches, insights, summaries, and compliance purposes.

Eigen has raised just over $80 million so far, and the last valuation we have is from 2019, when it raised $37 million and was valued at around $170 million. Its investors included Goldman Sachs (a strategic backer) and Dawn Capital.

Liu said Eigen had “several offers on the table, including terms to continue funding the company” before this deal. That means Eigen was under some pressure: It was nearing the end of its term and needed to make a decision. But with a pretty impressive customer base (it works with a number of very large banks and other large companies), it had other acquisition offers on the table and financing offers – although financing terms might look more difficult right now in what remains a tough market for startups seeking growth rounds, even AI startups. Sirion emerged as the best of the bunch.

Liu said the two companies already collaborated on deals – because of the way companies buy IT – and that the two seemed to have a “shared vision.” Liu will become the company’s chief AI officer and will lead a new hub in London.

Sirion, on the other hand, was founded in India and has so far focused on contracts, particularly the application of AI in the area of ​​contract lifecycle management. Its tools are also genAI-like: they can use conversational queries to search and extract information, similar to Eigen; it also offers AI to parse contracts to ensure users understand the terms, to determine the overall contract value, and to identify potential loopholes. It is currently building customizations and “small language models,” but also integrates with those building larger foundational LLM models to power its tools.

Sirion’s last round, a Series D, initially raised $85 million but closed at $110 million. Backers included Peak XV (formerly Sequoia India) and Tiger Global.

We confirmed that Sirion is now valued at around $1 billion – a figure Sirion had not previously disclosed – and that a large portion of the Series D is still in the bank. The company works with over 250 large enterprises and manages more than 7 million contracts valued at $800 billion.

Sirion is not yet profitable and still has between one and two years of startup time ahead of it, depending on how exuberant and acquisition-minded the company is. Are on the table, anyway. The main idea, said CEO and founder Ajay Agrawal in an interview, is that they are looking for “technology-oriented” additions, not customer mergers.

“I think the landscape over the next 18 to 24 months (in our space) is going to be one of a consolidation mentality, and frankly there are so many side areas for AI … we’ll talk,” he said.

On the other hand, Sirion itself also seems to be talking about upstream mergers and acquisitions. A major target buyer could be one of the larger system-of-record players. SAP is currently working with Icertis, Salesforce has a deal with Ironclad, and Oracle is Sirion’s main partner. There will be more alliances like this, and some of them will eventually lead to mergers and acquisitions as part of this broader consolidation trend, Agrawal predicted.

“We’re getting interest from all sides,” he said. Stay tuned.

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