We are excited to announce that we’ve raised $3.1M in a financing round led by Lawson DeVries at Grotech Ventures. We'd also like to welcome Lawson to the board of directors. He brings over 20 years of software-focused venture investing and management experience with him.
Our “Aha!” moment was when we realized that our customers were actually telling us what they want and need, every day.
The idea for SturdyAI came from building, bootstrapping, and scaling successful SaaS businesses. While running companies we realized that there is an ever-growing body of valuable data being created by our users. This feedback is just sitting in email accounts, in video conferencing systems, in chat logs, and buried in ticketing systems. We founded SturdyAI to empower businesses to solve problems that we faced as entrepreneurs and executives. At the end of the day, running a SaaS company is about keeping customers and taking advantage of the long tail of subscription revenue.
With the subscription business model reaching near ubiquity in many industries, particularly in cloud-based software, driving dollar retention (NDR) has evolved as the most important business metric. Companies with higher dollar retention are simply healthier and more valuable. So how does a subscription-based business drive dollar retention? Our earliest decks talked about, “getting your data in one spot”. But that wasn’t the problem we were trying to solve (wanting to see all the data in one spot is a symptom, not a solution). The problem wasn’t really a communication problem, it was a mining and refining problem. The problem we solve is separating the signals form the noise.
When a customer requests a copy of her contract, that message must get forwarded to the "Saves Team" - immediately. Save a customer — improve NDR.
Customers give us information to run our businesses better, to predict churn, to capture references, to get in front of renewals, to prioritize features, yet these critical signals are trapped and decaying in dozens, if not hundreds of data silos. Our customers are giving us the "answer to the test" in Slack, Email, Zendesk, Salesforce, Gong, Zoom, etc. Today, the only way we utilize this information is if someone manually identifies, records and escalates it.
These signals are immensely valuable. For example, reducing churn from 10% to 9% in a $10 million ARR business means that every customer is worth $17k more in lifetime value. And reducing churn in this example is just saving 5 customers.
Greylock's Jerry Chan may have coined the term system of intelligence. He wrote about the category in 2017 saying that "What makes a system of intelligence valuable is that it typically crosses multiple data sets, multiple systems of record." He actually predicted that SturdyAI would exist — "The next generation of enterprise products will use different artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to build systems of intelligence."
We aren’t here to reinvent and change the way teams or companies work — necessarily. And that is what is so exciting about what we do. SturdyAI is the force multiplier for your business. If you already have a cutting edge BI tool, we just give it better data. If you have a good CX app, we make it more insightful. If you have spent years perfecting your customer health score, we have a new data source to make it more accurate. If you have a great Customer Success, Account Management, Operations, Marketing, and Product teams, we make them more efficient and provide them with better data.
“SaaS companies collect a ton of information from their customers every day, but much of it fails to convert to useful and actionable data. Now using AI and automations businesses can proactively understand whether their customers are likely to churn, which features will entice them to renew, are they experiencing bugs, are they happy or not, and much more.,” said Lawson DeVries, Managing General Partner, Grotech Ventures. “Customer retention and expansion are critical for SaaS businesses to maintain consistent growth trajectories, especially as we head into a more challenging environment for acquiring net new customers. Actionable customer intelligence is no longer a nice-to-have aspect for companies of all sizes – it is mission critical for businesses to thrive in today’s market. Grotech has a long history in this segment of the software market, and we are proud to be a catalyst to help fuel Sturdy’s continued strong growth and bring AI to companies that will need to do more with less now and in the future,” continued Mr. DeVries.
“Churn doesn't happen in a vacuum. It's a culmination of bug reports, feature requests, executive changes, response lags, unhappy sentiment, and more. Sturdy discovers the preemptive signals that help teams create more enduring relationships to lift dollar retention.,” said Steve Hazelton, CEO and co-founder of SturdyAI.
“Every SaaS company has a customer database of record, some have systems of action like customer success platforms but the critical component that most companies lack is a scalable system of intelligence — a system that listens to all of your customer feedback and routes the important things to the right people in the systems that they use every day. That is why we built Sturdy.”