FUND is a national connector of entrepreneurs, VCs, angel investors, and industry experts with a focus on curated deal flow, captivating content, and same day connections. Our bottom line: The FUND ecosystem saves you time and dramatically improves the quality of business interactions.
Highlights on our past exhibitors are featured here to showcase their success journey post FUND Conference. Today we share with you FunnelAI, an exhibitor at 2018 Austin FUND Conference. This team connects businesses with customers, who are ready to buy, in real-time on any social platform!
Please tell us about your company.
We harness the power of AI and online social data to connect businesses with customers, who have high intent to purchase, in real time. We use Natural Language Processing (NLP), which are various AI models, to cover all the scenarios associated with buying a product. FunnelAI provides an intelligent, innovative and simple dashboard that businesses can use to connect with their customers for real-time interactions. We also provide real-time analytics with insights that business can use to understand their customers.
What inspired you to start this company?
As a founder, of my previous startup Apposphere, I was looking for a unique, noise cancelling social tool that could find customers in real-time without having to spend a lot on sales and marketing. I did not know I was solving a pain point of so many businesses, at that time. This idea became popular among investors, and I, therefore, pivoted to focus in on this idea alone, by establishing FunnelAI.
FunnelAI's Success Journey:
How is your company impacting the world today?
We filter the noise from the social platforms and help businesses connect and engage in real-time with individuals who have an intent to buy their product or service. We are helping businesses understand the real-time need of their customers. Our tools are not based on ads or historic and predictive trends, therefore leaving analysis and guess work out of the equation for businesses to know where their customers are, who they are, what they need and when they need.
How has your company grown since particpating at FUND Conference?
During our time at FUND conference, we were a three person team with less than $30K MRR. We crossed our $1M ARR, with $85K MRR at the end of November 2018. Now, we are a strong team of eight people, with our eyes set for 20% growth month over month for 2019.
Please describe your journey through the process of raising capital and getting in front of the right investors.
Fundraising is an art and a science. It needs a lot of meticulous planning. We were very new to fundraising back in April 2018. We met very encouraging investors and mentors along our fundraising journey; that doesn't mean we got the funds from all of them. However, we learned and developed a thorough process of having updated pitch decks every week, having due diligence documents ready and handy every time we went to pitch, and became confident in our vision and our roadmap each time we pitched.
Most importantly, we have learned not to be disappointed with a "NO" response. In fact, the no's gave us the strength to relook at our roadmap, strategize on funding partners, and learn to focus by keeping our heads low and developing our product.
Has going through the process of trying to raise capital impacted your vision and strategy for your business? If so, how?
Raising capital actually clarified our vision; the success of the Founders and startups depend on a clear vision and strategy. Although strategy and vision for a company is always messier during the first few years, re-evaluating them on a regular basis is always needed. In our case, fundraising helped clarify our vision to the investors again and again. The more questions we were asked, the more certain we became, as to what and how we are going to build our company.
Have you reached your FUNDraising goal? If not, where are you in your FUNDraising journey?
We raised a small preseed round for $350K.
The growth and our traction gave us a positive cash flow and zero burn scenario which helped us not needing to raise too much.
What are your company's next strategic steps?
Our next steps are to double our team in 2019, launch real-time deep learning analytics and tools that will benefit our customers, and we plan to raise our next round of funding in early 2019.
Please share any other advice you think would benefit other emerging growth businesses.
From some of the lessons, we learned, we would advise founders to plan ahead for fundraising. Fundraising takes a lot of stamina, and planning and being prepared always helps. Also, choose investors strategically, not just for their funding, but also look for the value investors play in accelerating your growth. Right investors are key in helping startups fill some of the gaps in their business.
Is there anything else you would like to address?
We would like to give a big shout out to FUND conference. We had many opportunities in connecting with investors and customers by attending FUND conference in Austin!
We encourage you to learn more about FunnelAI connect with the Founder and CEO, Sridhar Kamma, and continue to follow their expansion journey post FUND. Link up with this team on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.