A startup which uses AI technology to condense lengthy lengthy legal contracts into bitesize points, is set to double its workforce in a year.

Qualified lawyer Tom Dunlop founded Summize in 2018 and it already boasts the likes of Vodafone, Everton FC, Fujifilm, FIFA and NCC Group as clients.

The Manchester-based software firm currently employs around 35 people but is set to grow to 70 on the back of a major expansion, including opening an office in the US.

Chief revenue officer Ben Audley will be speaking at an exclusive event on June 29th in Manchester – ‘The Great Renegotiation: Is HR director the hardest job in the world?’ – about the extraordinary lengths companies now have to go to in order to hire the best staff.

Audley, who previously worked as the Vice President of Sales EMEA at Avecto and helped grow it from a startup to 300 staff by the time it was sold, said the demands of some applicants were off the scale.

“Startups and scale-ups can’t compete on salary with a company that has raised £100m in investment so you have to sell the dream and the excitement of the journey on offer,” he said.

“Companies have come out of Covid-19 with a lot of money to spend and a clear strategy to grow. They might want to expand into new regions and they have the firepower to hire.

“In the last six months we’ve offered people jobs and their current employers have immediately offered them an extra £20k-£25k to stay. Counter offers are increasingly commonplace.

“It’s very employee-centric. People want everything. They want equity in the business. They want to be able to work abroad. People will regularly accept a job offer but then go elsewhere.”

Business owners give away equity to retain staff

Audley predicted there would be a ‘correction’ in the market but said Summize’s attraction to new recruits was its potential.

The company’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) has increased by over 900% in the past two years and is expected to hit £1m in the coming months.

Summize has a modern office, gym, roof terrace, air hockey table and gives equity to staff.

The company has just launched a work from anywhere policy,  to allow people to still travel and have a sense of adventure for a month while they work during the day as normal.

“Long-lasting relationships are key,” said Audley. “We brought in a CMO and a VP of business development having previously worked with them.

“However in a fast-growing business the key is having the right people in your network at the same time that it’s right for their career.

“The main thing we’re selling at Summize is the opportunity of joining a fast-paced startup and sharing in the future success.

“The analogy I use is you can be as good as you want to be but you’ve got to be in the right vehicle to take you there. The career opportunities at Summize are huge. We’re expanding into the US and that’s really exciting.

“We operate an EMI (Enterprise Management Incentive) scheme so everyone gets shares in the business. If the company succeeds and is acquired everyone shares in the success.”

Audley said the flipside of paying higher salaries was that sales targets would be increased accordingly.

“I think salaries will rise slower but there will be a natural correction in the market because the rises are unsustainable, especially against the backdrop of what’s happening in Ukraine and the growing cost of living crisis,” he said.

“Our approach at Summize is to be the place where people can build a really exciting  career. The onboarding process starts as soon as people accept the job offer and we like to involve them straight away so they immediately feel part of the team.”

Audley will be speaking at the event – The Great Renegotiation: Is HR director the hardest job in the world? – alongside Joanne Brien, partner, KPMG; Dean McGlone, Chief Revenue Officer, Talos360;  Darragh Lee, Head of Talent Acquisition, TalkTalk; Andrew Avanessian, CEO, AppLearn; and Gemma McCall, Chief Executive Officer, Culture Shift.

It takes place at KPMG’s offices at 1 St Peter’s Square, Manchester, and will be hosted by award-winning journalist and executive editor of BusinessCloud, Chris Maguire.

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