Let a negotiation robot get you the best deal

Are you getting a real bargain? As AI becomes more versatile, negotiation may become automated.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

As artificial intelligence becomes more versatile, we're entering an interesting moment of human-machine intermingling. The latest example? The negotiating table.

A company called Pactum is a good example. Purveyor of an AI-based platform that enables global companies to automate personalized commercial negotiations at scale, the company has leapt into the fray with an $11M Series A, all with a focus on getting customers the best possible deal.

"While other AI companies focus on reducing labor costs, Pactum focuses on adding value to the bottom line. All businesses make purchases, which means that any firm will be able to benefit from our automated Negotiation-as-a-Service (NaaS) offering," said Martin Rand, CEO and co-founder at Pactum. "Although this technology has so far been limited to the most innovative enterprises, Pactum will open the door to all businesses to benefit from AI's value generation potential – starting with Fortune 500 companies but by no means ending there."

The funding brings the company's total investment to $15m, and the latest round was led by Atomico, with participation from commerce players like Metaplanet (Jaan Tallinn), Checkout.com CTO Ott Kaukver, TransferWise Chairman & co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, and Teleport co-founder Sten Tamkivi.

The value proposition here is interesting because it marks a departure from the usual AI pitch. Pactum is a web-based tool and some of the brand language sounds similar to what you'd hear from other AI developers. The system is meant to "add value" and "save time" by aligning client values with their negotiation partners and then using best-practice negotiation strategies to secure "win-wins."

The novel part is that Pactum is less about driving efficiencies, which is the standard line for hawkers of AI, and more about unlocking existing capital through tangible savings. A spokesman cites a use case involving a Fortune 500 client that Pactum was able to save $1.5m per month, money that's immediately available to be deployed elsewhere. It calls its flagship offering Negotiation-as-a-Service (NaaS).

"Fortune 500 procurement leaders have told us that negotiated agreements are the backbone of their economic engagement, but that their practices for managing supplier contracts are currently filled with inefficiency, uncertainty, and untapped value," said Ben Blume, Partner at Atomico. "Martin, Kaspar and Kristjan recognized this and, with Pactum, have pioneered a unique approach that makes the negotiating process more supplier-friendly and improves outcomes for both parties. Combining deep expertise in negotiation with world class AI talent, we believe Pactum is exceptionally well positioned to develop a new kind of automation solution, with the ability to create significant amounts of value for both buyers and suppliers of all kinds."

Pactum will use the funding to scale deployment.

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