When Patil joined Greylock from now defunct Color Labs (where he was Chief Product Officer), the role of the data scientist was on the brink of becoming the hot new role to fill in Silicon Valley. Now data-mining experts and talent, especially those who can develop compelling products and experiences around massive amounts of data, are among the most desirable talent hires in the technology world, both at companies and VC firms.
At Greylock, Patil helped many of the firm’s portfolios grow faster using data, and also developed a greater community and dialogue around the data science world (you can read some of his writings here). But he always kept an eye out for the next startup he wanted to work with.
Along the way, Patil reconnected with Steve Loughlin, who had previously founded a social network for alumni groups and trade orgs, Affinity Circle (Patil was on the advisory board of the company). Loughlin told him about his new startup, RelateIQ, which was using large-scale data-mining technologies to automate relationship tracking in the enterprise and CRM world. Patil was immediately intrigued; he invested in the startup and took an active advisory role (along with Bob Cohn of Octel, Lucent and Sequoia fame and current Apple board member and former Intuit CEO Bill Campbell).
RelateIQ focuses on simplicity on the front end, eliminating the manual data entry required to get more insight into professional relationships. Part of this involves using algorithms to try to better understand and glean insight into your actions in the workplace, capturing data from email, voice, social networks and calendars, as well as analyzing language in those communications. For example, RelateIQ could identify words and phrases in an email that might indicate a lead is getting ready to take the next step.
For the past year or so, Patil has been working with Loughlin and co-founder Adam Evans to help hire, develop data strategies with engineers and more. While RelateIQ had previously raised $9 million in funding from Accel, Morgenthaler SV Angel and angels, the company just received $20 million in new funding, valuing RelateIQ at $100 million. This round was co-led by Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale’s new, “smart enterprise”-focused venture capital firm Formation 8 and Accel Partners, with Battery Ventures, AMC Cloud Ventures (via Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang), Thrive Capital, Allen & Co. and Facebook and Asana co-founder Dustin Moskovitz participating.
Patil’s fit at RelateIQ makes sense. He brings a significant amount of experience in both data mining and data security, areas where RelateIQ will benefit from Patil’s expertise. As LinkedIn’s Chief Security Officer he partnered with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zynga and others to take on hackers, spammers and fraudsters, and worked at eBay as their Director of Strategy, Analytics, and Product. He has also done strategic advisory work for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and Civilian Research and Development Foundation. Prior to that he focused on National Security issues on Counter Terrorism and Bioweapons Proliferation Prevention.
“RelateIQ knows utilizing data is the key to transforming relationship management,” Loughlin tells us. “We are thrilled to have DJ join the team as his abilities are world-class. His background in data science, consumer software, and relationship-focused businesses are a perfect fit for RelateIQ’s mission. He will be key in helping RelateIQ continue to build a platform that enables people to make smarter decisions around their relationships.”
Patil tells us that he believes RelateIQ is part of the next wave of companies that are using complex algorithms to make the enterprise smarter. But this complexity doesn’t come at the expense of the users, he explains further, as RelateIQ is focused on making a product that is simple and easy to use, which fits into the consumerization of the enterprise, he adds.