“The deal was sealed in two weeks” Oleg Rogynskyy, founder of People.ai, on new round worth $60M
On May 21, Ukrainian startup People.ai announced about the new round of investments. The amount raised is $60M with unofficial valuation at $500M. AIN.UA’s own correspondent had an interview with the startup’s founder Oleg Rogynskyy during which they talked about peculiarities of the deal, company’s performance and plans for the future.
Where will the raised funds go
According to Rogynskyy, the startup plans to spend part of funds toward staff expansion. In particular, in Kyiv, where People.ai aims to increase the number of employees from 30 people to 100 in the nearest future:
“We also have expanding offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition, we began hiring in London and continue opening sales offices around the world.”
Part of the funds People.ai will spend on the development of an affiliate platform. Rogynskyy notes that the company is now partnering with a large number of consulting companies.
How long did it take to prepare the deal
The deal was closed in two weeks. Everything was so fast because so many people wanted to invest. And two weeks is because we stalled for time. Otherwise, it was possible to close it on the very first day.
The founder of People.ai emphasizes that now the company’s investors are the best players on the field: “Lightspeed Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz are top 1 and top 3 investors. We cannot work with Sequoia Capital. Iconiq is the top 4 investor.”
Iconiq is the largest fund for managing the personal money of the largest players, Rogynskyy notes, “They manage the money of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, and the likes. It is clear what kind of introductions they can facilitate.”
Only seven months passed between the startup’s rounds B and C. Rogynskyy explains this with demand “If a company grows very quickly, investors realize that they will not be able to enter later. They came to us with their offers – we didn’t go to them, nor did we ask them.”
How is the product developing
Now People.ai continues to expand the work of its platform not only for sales specialists but also for all employees that interact with customers. This includes the departments of marketing and recruiting. In addition, the company is exploring new verticals: financial sector, telecom, real estate, and the oil refining industry.
In addition, People.ai has launched a new tool – The Wire. It is a smart feed for sales professionals, created by analogy with news feeds in social networks. Its algorithms generate a list of the best actions for the seller. Feeds are trained on user activity data — in the mail, calendar, and collaboration tools, such as Zoom and Slack.
Thanks to The Wire, sales teams can be sure that they will be the first to contact their regular customer on the day they join the new company. Or they can make sure that the right managers are getting involved in the right stages of the sales process.
What is the startup’s current performance
Currently, People.ai employs 140-145 employees. 30 of them are based in Kyiv, the rest are in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The clients of the startup include about 50 large companies, including New Relic, Tanium, Lyft, Okta, Red Hat, Zoom and others. According to TechCrunch, the People.ai platform helped conduct 350 million actions for sales reps, establish 40 million contacts and conclude transactions to the tune of $100 billion.
According to Rogynskyy, while the team is not thinking about the next round of investment “We will see if they will offer. It all depends on the demand.”