“The most common mistake people make when building relationships for success is treating business contacts differently than personal friends,” notes Keith Ferrazzi, an American author and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a research and consulting firm. Keith believes that in addition to being professional, one should be human, skip the small talk and go deep into what really matters — interests and passions, struggles, and frustrations. According to him, the best way to build trust even in a professional setting is through intimacy.
But, in this fast-paced world, keeping track of multiple professional and personal relationships is not easy. Relatas, a Bengaluru-based startup aims to help sales and other business professionals better manage their networks. Using their business intelligence (BI) tool, users can gain a bird's eye view of their professional peer group and take necessary actions to stay one step ahead and avoid losing out on potential deals.
Image credit- Shutterstock
The story so far
Recognising the gap in the BI space, Relatas was founded in 2014 by childhood friends Sudip Dutta and Sumit Rampal. Sudip has 15 years of experience working with companies such as L&T, Infosys, Persistent Systems, and Sourcebits. After spending about five years in Silicon Valley in various roles, he returned to India in 2009, and went on to co-found Aporv.com – an online platform that sells Indian handicrafts globally – with Sumit, who is a multi-disciplinary designer with over 15 years of experience in digital media, focusing on design and usability.
Aporv unfortunately didn't take off as expected and shut down in May 2013. Relatas.com is their second venture together. The startup currently consists of a seven-member team, with five of them based in Bengaluru. Relatas, one of YourStory’s Tech30 2014 companies, has also won awards from Google LaunchPad and was part of Start-up Chile.
Sudip explains that Relatas aims to bridge the gap between LinkedIn and Salesforce and help sales professionals get the best out of their interactions. Via a dashboard, managers, VPs, and CXOs see real-time data on whom sales team members are interarcting with, and which accounts need immediate attention. Sudip says,
Imagine Relatas as a Google Now for professional relationships. People use different systems to stay in touch and close deals – email, calls, SMS, calendars, social channels. Relatas captures interactions across these disparate systems without you having to do anything extra.
Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and connectivity with the user’s email, phone number and CRM (Relatas also has its own opportunity management module), Relatas helps users have better control over their schedules. Sudip notes that Relatas’s main USPs are intelligent insights, which are gathered without any data entry and no required change in user behaviour:
Large, comprehensive solutions like Salesforce are sometimes an overkill for some companies, with sales professionals having to enter a lot of details on a regular basis. The whole idea with Relatas is to gather those insights automatically, where possible.
Relatas also provides other intelligent insights such as
- Who are the people you are losing touch with?
- People to meet when traveling to a different location.
- Which businesses need immediate attention?
- Which team members need help (for managers, CXOs)?
The aim is to help users build a more responsive and dependable professional network, accelerate revenue growth opportunities, and improve satisfaction among one’s professional peers.
Revenue model and recent developments
Sudip noted that Relatas has already seen good adoption, with about 20 enterprises having opted for its premium solution. The startup claims to analyse 2.5 million interactions daily for professionals across 700 companies. While the basic version of Relatas is free to use, the startup charges $49 per user per month for premium features like insights and accounts.
During a trip to Bay Area in May 2016, Sudip was able to interact with a lot of industry veterans and get their feedback on Relatas. As a result of all the meetings, he was also able to bring on board Rajani Ramanathan, Former COO, Salesforce; Vasant Kumar - Former Sr. Director, Oracle; and Gaurav Rastogi - Former VP, Sales Infosys, and President, Nagarro as advisors.
Sudip points out that Rajani had joined Salesforce in 2000, when it was quite small (like Relatas is now). Relatas aims to leverage her 15 years of experience to learn and grow as a company. In a statement, Ramanathan said, “Today, we have information overload, with so many tools and the social sites we need to keep up with. It is overwhelming to separate what is relevant and prioritise accordingly.”
Image credit- Relatas
Explaining a key difference between LinkedIn and Relatas, Sudip noted that while Relatas’ network graph currently connects to about 1.4 million people compared to LinkedIn’s 400 million, Relatas is able to provide more relevant information. Sudip explained,
If you need to connect with a person X, LinkedIn may show you a number of connections who could introduce you to the person, but it may be difficult for you to figure out who the most effective person would be. Relatas, on the other hand, has learnt from your interactions and is able to list the three most effective people you can reach out to, to connect with X.
Vasant Kumar notes that as enhancing and nurturing relationships are critical aspects of today’s hyperconnected world, it has become a challenge given the advent of newer paradigms, tools, mechanisms, and preferences. He said in a statement, “Relatas enables me to manage my relationships and interactions much more efficiently leading to increased effectiveness in my business operations.”
Sector overview and future plans
According to a recent Gartner report, the BI and analytics market is forecast to reach $16.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 5.2 percent from 2015. It is also in the final stages of a multi-year shift from IT-led, system-of-record reporting to business-led, self-service analytics.
Gartner also believes that as analytics has become increasingly strategic to most businesses, and is central to most business roles,
Every business is an analytics business, every business process is an analytics process, and every person is an analytics user.
Gaurav from Nagarro believes that our natural talent as a social species is amplified many times over through the use of artificial intelligence. He said, “Steve Jobs thought computers were a bicycle for our minds, allowing human power to be amplified efficiently. I’m excited about Relatas, because now AI can finally help us be better at the most human of all things – social relationships.”
Currently bootstrapped, Relatas is looking to expand its team and is currently hiring for AI, machine learning, and Android development roles. Sudip also noted they are looking to raise an external round of funding to help them penetrate faster globally. The short-term goal, though, is to focus on the Indian and US markets, where they see tremendous potential.
Relatas is also in the process of rolling out a new feature ‘Relatas Timeline’, which is based on sentiment analysis would provide users with intelligence on the important emails in their inbox that need immediate attention.
For YourStory readers, Relatas is offering one month of its product free for your entire organization. To avail this offer, shoot an email to email@example.com from your company email ID before November 30, 2016.