Skedool.it, a B2B smart assistant startup powered by Artificial Intelligence, has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding round from a group of prominent Silicon Valley and Indian technology investors.
The round was led by Kludein LLC and a investor group including Phanindra Sama (redBus founder), Narayan Ramachandran (former country head of Morgan Stanley, India) and Pranav Pai, investing on behalf of Mohandas Pai among others.
The startup was launched in March 2015 by Deepti Yenireddy and Naveen Varma Alluri (IIT Madras alumni) in a bid to automate repetitive everyday tasks for business executives, sales and recruiting professionals.
The idea of launching Skedool originated during Deepti’s previous role of working as an investor. She realised that over 5-10 hours a week of her time was consumed in scheduling activities.
“Business professionals spend an inordinate amount of time on low value scheduling activities. We developed Skedool’s assistant as a blend of Artificial and Human Intelligence that quickly and accurately handles all your B2B scheduling and calendar management needs for less than 5% of the cost of a full time executive assistant,” she said.
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Skedool’s quick response time increases the “conversion rate” from initial outreach to getting a meeting scheduled by 40%. The company currently serves hundreds of customers including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Boomerang Commerce. The service is currently available for customers in the US and Europe.
The AI assistant is named as Alex and in case, if the user wants to change the name, they can opt for a premium version of the software.
How It Works
Skedool.it uses natural language processing and machine learning supervised by humans to enable customers to communicate with the service via email just as they would with a human executive assistant sitting outside their office. It is currently available for Gmail and Outlook365 and integrates with CRM, marketing and recruiting tools.
The user does not need to install an app, or an plug in to use the product; they just need to share their calendar with ‘Alex’, mentioning a few specifications, like favourite meeting place, preferred contact number and ‘cc’ Alex on any e-mails that include the scheduling details.
Taking the lead, Alex, takes care of all the communication, back-and-forth with the client, based on your specifications and preferences. Alex, makes use of LinkedIn and Google maps to ensure that the proximity and even the time-zone difference are considered while fixing an appointment. It also sends a daily summary, and also follows up on outstanding meetings as well!
The startup charges $100/per user/month. Speaking on the revenues and monetisation front, Deepti says, “The company started generating revenue right from its outset and has enjoyed rapid customer and revenue traction.
The founders plan to used the funding to scale its product development, accelerate operations and for hiring.
The current team consists of IIT Madras alumni with deep expertise in NLP and Machine Learning. “We believe that a blend of AI and human interaction is required to maintain a flawless user experience with immense scalability. We are not willing to compromise user experience while we continue to improve upon the AI technology. The simplicity of our solution (communicating simply through email) and the severity of the pain point we are addressing brought us customers early on who love our product and want to pay for it,” said CEO Deepti Yenireddy.
The team is currently based out of the Bay Area in the US and Hyderabad in India.
Startups like X.ai and Clara Labs also operates in the same space. X.ai has raised over $11 Mn in funding till date and is backed by investors like FirstMark Capital, IA Ventures and Softbank Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Crunchfund. On the other side, Clara Labs is backed by Y Combinator and Sequoia Capital.