Many of us suffer the same problem–as our professional networks grow, we can’t keep track of each person’s details, including jobs, personal interests, kids, news and more. Amy Chang, the former global of head of product for Google Analytics and measurement, has spent a lot of time thinking about this problem. And she, and her former colleague at Google, Matthias Ruhl, have created a service, Accompani, that they are hoping will change relationship management irrevocably.
As Chang explains, “Your network is your single most powerful and proprietary asset for the duration of your career, yet there’s currently no service to help you manage it with depth, strengthen it with relevant context, and benefit daily from its full potential.”
As she and Ruhl helped built Google Analytics, they drew three major observations. Google Analytics saw major traction because it was a product that was easily useful and usable. Because of that, workers brought Google Analytics into companies as individuals and then spread the word across the whole organization because they felt strongly about its value.
Second, analytics provided an experience where users had to put in very little to start getting a lot of insight out right away, says Chang. And lastly, the data needs to work for the user. For example, Ruhl and Chang developed Google Analytics Intelligence in order to allow the system to always be working for its users, regularly sifting through interaction data and scanning for patterns and anomalies without the user having to lift a finger.
Accompani, which is still in private alpha, wants to apply these principles to relationship management. While Chang and Ruhl aren’t ready to reveal exact details yet, here’s what we know.
The company has developed an iOS and web-based product that integrates with your email, contacts, and social feeds, to help you manage relationships with your contacts. The app will intelligently merge contacts, and also uses a proprietary algorithm that surfaces the most relevant content, depending on your interaction and engagement signals.
“This is not a light snack, it’s a whole platform that will give you everything you need to manage relationships over a career lifetime,” explains Chang.
For example, on Accompani, 30 seconds after signing up, the app is already giving you insights and context you can use in everything from building your long term relationships to prepping for your next meeting. Accompani has also made it possible to create importance and relevance rankings for each user, for all of their contacts. The underlying technology will encourage its users to check in with their most important contacts and will surface interesting content related to contacts. And Chang further explains that users will never have to walk in unprepared to a meeting with the people who are important to them. “The most critical context about a person should be available anywhere, anytime, on any device. And it should be a pleasure to use. That’s Accompani,” she says.
In terms of talent, Accompani has quietly built an impressive team of engineers, product managers and designers. Chang herself spent seven years at Google. She started Google Analytics in 2006 and helped grow the product from 1% to over 70% of the top million sites worldwide. Chang also serves on the board of Informatica, on the digital advisory council for Target, and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in hardware and network systems from Stanford. Ruhl is a nine-year Google veteran who has numerous big data patents, and holds a PhD in CS from MIT.
Accompani also raised a Series A round of funding last year, to the tune of $5.6 million led by Charles River Ventures with Cowboy Ventures and Floodgate participating. CRV Partner Devdutt Yellurkar commented that as professionals are inundated with information from their inbox, social feeds, and more, our networks have become for more complex. There is a need for an app to intelligently help make sure that people are keeping in touch with most important relationships, he says, adding that in the current Accompani userbase, engagement is “off the charts.”
Former eBay exec Lorrie Norrington has been testing the app, and says it’s the first thing she opens in the morning, and the last app she checks before going to bed. One of the most impressive things about the app is that it was able to seamlessly integrate with her network and start delivering smart insights and recommendations without much input from her.
In my opinion, the relationship management space has still not been cracked–meaning there isn’t a dedicated app that nearly everyone flocks to when it comes to managing contacts in an intelligent way. But many startups and companies are trying to fill this need.
The relationship management space is chock full of competitors and Accompani is joining a crowded market that includes RelateIQ, LinkedIn and Refresh, among others.
But I had the opportunity to play around with Accompani, and without giving too many details away, there’s not much out there that is similar to what it provides. I agree with Norrington that it could be one of those apps that you’ll want to open every morning to figure out who you are meeting, throughout the day as you are heading from one meeting to another to refresh your memory, and at night to explore ways to manage the information gathered from the meetings and more.
Chang acknowledges that there is competition but says the team is right now focused on the user. If Accompani can delight and surprise its users, then competition isn’t a factor, she adds.