People.ai raises $7M to automate sales ops for the enterprise

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People.ai is a startup using AI to give sales managers a predictive playbook for the best way to close a deal. The company is announcing it has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Index Ventures and Shasta Ventures also participated in the round, alongside existing investors Y Combinator and SV Angel. Nakul Mandan, partner at Lightspeed, is also joining People.ai’s board of directors.

The problem the sales management platform is trying to solve is that managers coach teams based on intuition rather than data. People.ai wants to change this by providing a holistic view of every outreach and action reps take to close deals. The software lets you see where in the pipeline sales reps are spending the most time and identify the metrics tied to success. Work smarter, not harder, right?

The goal is to have full visibility into salespeople’s processes with a visualization that shows much time top performers are spending at each phase of a deal, and where struggling reps may be deviating from typically successful methodology. Are salespeople too zoned in on one phase of a deal? Not spending enough time talking to product managers, executives or other decision makers? Are they even focusing on the right leads? Those are the questions People.ai’s algorithms seek to answer.

The solution tracks activity across different communication touch points between salespeople and clients. The tech scans email, phone calls, calendar meetings and produces a dashboard showing how much time is spent in each phase of a deal, who was contacted and what the outcome was.

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When People.ai launched last year, CEO and machine learning veteran Oleg Rogynskyy wanted to build an AI that would help automate sales ops as a function. Since then, the company realized they wanted to refocus on solving this same problem but with an eye on the enterprise.

There are many companies building out features related to conversational AI like Chorus.ai and VoiceOps. People.ai sees these companies as data sources, but that their own solution is the backbone that reads all types of sales activity.

Rogynskyy tells me that recently, the company is seeing strong interest coming from the enterprise and Fortune 500 companies. People.ai will use the funding to scale out its product and sales teams, and engage in more enterprise-focused R&D.