An artificial intelligence (AI)-driven predictive sales startup called People.ai has raised $60 million in a funding round, and has attracted some of the biggest-name investors around, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The funding round was led by ICONIQ Capital, a VC that includes the office of Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg, as well as Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Y Combinator and GGV Capital.
The startup’s valuation is estimated to be at around $500 million. The company’s platform ingests all the sales data a person will generate while working, and then uses it to help guide them to more sources and to close more deals.
It’s also launching a new service called The Wire, which is a feed of sales insights to help with leads, offer tips and aid in the whole sales process.
“Some people say it’s what LinkedIn should have been,” said Oleg Rogynskyy, People.ai’s founder and CEO.
People.ai has recruited former LinkedIn employee David Flink, who previously worked on search and discovery, to work on The Wire.
The startup’s growth has been rapid: it’s ingested 350 million sales activities, 40 million contacts, has a sales pipeline of $300 billion and has closed $100 billion in deals. Revenues have been growing five times year-over-year, and most of its customers are in the tech field near San Francisco. Its customers include Splunk, New Relic, Zoom, Lyft and Red Hat.
The company’s approach, according to Rogynskyy, is not to get rid of salespeople but to “supercharge” them by using AI to analyze and ingest the “high-value, low-volume activity” going on in the background. It picks up what Rogynskyy calls the “exhaust” of the day, and uses that data to make cheat sheets for salespeople to help provide insights, show them relevant facts and, of course, close deals.
“This model is applicable to any area where you are building external, complex relationships at scale,” he said.