2020: Venture Capitalists Finally Take Notice of Meetings
It was a cold Brooklyn afternoon in early December 2020 when my iPhone buzzed louder than usual — or so it seemed:
The SMS came from Rexhi and TJ at Base10 VC, who had led our $18M A round a few months earlier. Our main competitor Calendly, started just three years before Chili Piper, had reached a $3Bn valuation.
What? That simple little scheduling tool, worth about the valuations of Gong and Outreach.io combined?
The Beginnings of Chili Piper
Alina and I started Chili Piper in 2016.
We did not stumble upon a brilliant idea or fall in love with calendars. Rather, we had a thesis — a tidal wave was about to happen, the Digitalization of Sales.
Today, it is called “Revenue Acceleration Software” and we wanted to lead that movement.
Alina had achieved great success designing B2C apps at companies like Bloomberg and Pearson. I had a passion for B2B sales and multiple experiences building startups.
We were the right team. But where would we start?
As we were talking to potential customers about pain points, Stephanie Ouadah at Fivestars asked for help with round robin distribution of meetings.
Here was her ask.
Alina rolled her eyes. “I didn’t leave a job designing systems for the school district of Los Angeles to spend my time on this little problem.”
We almost declined.
Just like the dozens of investors who turned down Calendly in the early days, we initially underestimated the importance of MEETINGS in the revenue process.
The Problem Chili Piper Solves
As we all know, the world is becoming more and more competitive.
Offering an amazing product is necessary but not sufficient. All sellers need to educate, help and motivate their potential buyers.
Meetings provide the most effective way to do exactly that. They are the lifeblood of revenue teams.
Yet, in spite of their obvious importance, until recently very little technology had been applied to facilitate the creation and successful execution of meetings. Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook were deemed sufficient.
Case in point: before we launched our inbound solution “Concierge,” companies had accepted as industry best practice a “conversion rate” of meeting requests to meetings held of 40%.
In other words, 60 prospects out of 100 who had gone through the trouble of requesting a meeting never got one!
Here’s another example.
At the beginning of the Covid pandemic, Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s founder and CEO, realized that his company had an opportunity to play a major role in addressing the crisis.
He instructed his revenue teams to hold ONE MILLION MEETINGS with their prospects and customers about Covid. How did he make sure that this happened? By asking thousands of Salesforce employees to manually input their meeting data in its namesake CRM.
What about the sales leader’s ping: “Hey, how did the meeting go? I see no notes and no updates in the CRM,” followed by the most creative excuses around shortage of time by the guilty rep.
For years, letting meeting requests fall through the cracks, being unable to use meetings held to track a business initiative and remaining in the dark about the outcome of a discussion was accepted as business as usual.
BUT NO LONGER!
Introducing Meeting Lifecycle Automation!
Chili Piper has spent the last four years helping leading companies like Twilio, Gong, Gainsight, Airbnb, and hundreds more to get the most value out of meetings and meeting requests.
We identified so many opportunities for intelligent software to assist in the process that it became clear to us that this was a category of its own.
Until now we didn’t have a name for it.
Today we do: MEETING LIFECYCLE AUTOMATION
So what is Meeting Lifecycle Automation?
The automation of all the processes, messages, and user actions that need to happen before, during, and after a meeting. This includes scheduling of course, but also:
- Handling inbound meeting requests. Qualifying, routing, booking or connecting live (this is what our Concierge Product does)
- Setting up follow up conversations. Suggesting times to meet, setting up multi-guests meetings, booking in one click (covered by our Instant Booker product)
- Making the most of booked meetings. Sending an agenda, gathering data pre-meeting, sending recaps, booking the next steps, logging notes, taking the follow-up actions, updating the CRM, and more
The acceleration and automation of all the steps is a complex problem. This is probably why Chili Piper faces no competition outside of simple booking links.
We’re committed to keep innovating to grow this category into the largest one in revenue acceleration.
What’s Next for Chili Piper
We’ve just launched our self-service freemium offering to let revenue teams experience the power of our tools first hand. In the coming months, we’ll bring to market the other pieces of the Meeting Lifecycle Automation puzzle.
Want to stay up to date on this new category?