Marketing and selling to customers is really all about relationships. So you need a system for effectively nurturing those relationships. Affinity is a new kind of CRM platform that uses machine learning and natural language processing to intelligently grow relationships.
Read more about the company and its new approach to CRM in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers an easy CRM platform for businesses.
VP of Marketing for Affinity Anne Gherini told Small Business Trends, “We offer a relationship intelligence platform that uses powerful, patent-pending technology to help users build, nurture and grow their professional relationships, all with a minimum amount of effort. It enables people to identify who is best suited to make a warm introduction to another person or company by using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to scan the communication streams hidden in their network and determine the relationship strength of one person to another. At the same time, our platform automates the relationship management process to eliminate the manual work involved in CRM workflows or managing some type of pipeline; gone are the days of manual data entry to manage your prospects, customers, and deals. We also offer prioritization support by surfacing data points like missed emails or cold relationships to make sure that users don’t drop the ball on important relationships.”
Using proprietary technology to access relationship intelligence.
Gherini says, “Our patent-pending algorithms uncovers hidden opportunities sitting in user’s networks. Since Affinity first focused on solving the problem of structuring large stacks of data, like communication streams, we have become the best-in-class platform for auto-population and the easiest way to manage high-touch relationships.”
How the Business Got Started
After an important realization.
Gherini explains, “Two of the company’s three co-founders — Ray Zhou and Shubham Goel — were roommates at Stanford and working together in an incubator program called “The Garage.” At the time, they had talked about starting a business together but they didn’t really know what type of business they wanted to run. So they set out to talk to as many different types of working professionals, in a variety of roles from a variety of fields, as they could, in order to understand what they did. After dozens upon dozens of interviews, Ray and Shubham realized that all professionals — whether lawyers or accountants, investors or entrepreneurs — essentially do the same thing in order to be successful: they manage relationships with other people. At the same time, the roommates realized that there was no good technology tools available to help people build and manage those relationships. So they set out to create something that would empower people to do exactly that. They built an early prototype and shared it with Joe Lonsdale, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent entrepreneurs and investors. Joe was immediately impressed with the product and signed on as the third co-founder to help the two budding entrepreneurs turn their platform into a successful business.”
Getting their first paying customer.
Gherini says, “Even with exceptional growth in our first year, as well as signing Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s best VC firms, that first client proved just how valuable our product really is and how it immediately improved the client’s relationships.”
Starting the business right out of college.
Gherini adds, “The co-founders worried they didn’t have enough experience, but it has turned out that their passion, focus and perseverance more than made up for their lack of experience — that, and having an industry veteran like Joe Lonsdale on board didn’t hurt either.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Building the platform.
Gherini explains, “We’ve put the bulk of our funding into engineering resources so that we can continue to build the most powerful and feature-rich relationship management platform on the planet. If we had another $100,000, we’d do the same. We continue to hire the best playmakers over all departments that want to roll their sleeves up in order to build this together.”
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay
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Image: Affinity, Co-founder Joe Lonsdale addressing the team