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Align With AllyO: Analysts & Influencers Learn What’s Next

 

With all indicators moving in the right direction for the AI-Powered HR Communications Platform, exponential growth is certain for the 2020 year

 

Jeanne Achille : 

Welcome to the first episode of “Align with AllyO”. We’re so excited to tell you what’s next coming from the company. I’m Jeanne and I have the pleasure of being joined by the two co-founders of AllyO today, Sahil Sahni and Ankit Somani. We also have a special guest Stacey Bishop who is a partner, and I’m reading her bio now my goodness so many things on her bio so we’re looking forward to her introducing herself as well but she’s with Scale Venture Partners. So welcome to our influencers and analysts who are joining us today we’re delighted to have you I’d like to start off by asking our co-founders of AllyO as well as Stacey to make quick introductions. Stacey can we start with you please? 

Stacey Bishop : 

Sure, thanks Jeanne. As I said the partner at scale venture partners were actually investors in AllyO. We participated in the last round that the company raised just this past spring and we’re thrilled to be new investors we’ve invested in a number of HR tech companies that includes namely Lever and Text so we’re excited to add AllyO to that portfolio 

Jeanne Achille : 

Thank You Stacey now we’re going to go in alphabetical order by first name when it comes to our co-founders so Ankit would you please tell us a little bit about your background 

Ankit Sonami : 

Hey guys this is Ankit Somani one of the cofounders of AllyO so first, more important than my own background is our background together Sahil and I we’ve known each other for gosh what’s at 16 years now 17 something close to that so a very long time I remember we were in the same dorm in first year so we know each other for a very long period of time I spent I came to us maybe 12 years ago and been in the valley for the past 10 years spend most of my time in tech companies a majority of time before starting AllyO was spent at Google where I was doing product management across a bunch of b2b and b2c products 

Jeanne Achille : 

Outstanding! Sahil I suspect you might want to tell us a few stories about Ankit back at your university days what do you think oh we’ve lost your sound we don’t hear you … 

Sahil Sahni :

I’m sorry my bad at undergrad in Ankit was super popular in undergrad, in fact there a video made for the whole class to watch and he was the star celebrity in that video so quite a few fond memories from undergrad. My name is Sahil and I am the other co-founder at AllyO and you know my background is very similar to Ankit, but I’ll add one comment here when we started AllyO we were very shy when it came to marketing we had no idea about how important it is to inform the market to connect with analysts to connect with influences such that for almost two years we didn’t tell anyone about what we were doing we just had customers and we have product we just danced between those two and after that we have learned in a good way how important this is so this is you know big initiative for us to share with everyone what exciting work we are doing and get feedback so that we can work on improving the industry together as opposed to in the silo like we started off 

Jeanne Achille : 

Isn’t this great to have a front-row seat to your success! thank you so much for for for sharing all of it with us today you know I have a few questions I’m hoping we can kick off with Stacey. Stacey as you’ve mentioned you have invested in the number of HR technology companies how would you describe the current state ofHR technology 

Stacey Bishop : 

well I would say there’s a lot of activity going on inthe HR techspace I mean it’s one of the reasons why we were interested in making investments I think one of the areas that we’re seeing that’s very interesting is employee engagement I think companies tech companies in particular we’re seeing this in the Bay Area they’re trying to figure out how they can retain employees longer so looking at companies that help with that employee engagement side the other trend we’re kind of seeing is remote workforce do you handle remote workers even companies that may not have remote workers they may have been employees now working one two days from home at a different location so how do employees handle that communication across that and even from an HR standpoint how do they handle that and then one thing that we’re generally seeing in the tech industry is just where AI artificial intelligence can be applied to current applications and I think AllyO is a good example of that and we’re seeing that across a number of opportunities another one of our portfolio companies tech Co which helps with augmented writing is also using that technology to drive their application 

Jeanne Achille : 

yeah I think obviously the AI category has been fascinating and Sahil I’d like you to tell us you know in terms of employee growth and customer adoption and even what you’ve observed in the AI category between last year and this year give us a you know a contrasted perspective on where AllyO is and also where you see the market 

Sahil Sahni : 

I think the one indicators are moving to the top right all of them so I’ll start with annuals indicators you know in Silicon Valley or if you look at us startups the top percentile companies typically at our stage triple every year for the top five percent of the top ten percentile we actually deal with quadrupling that’s where our success and standards lie and so if you look at our employees a year ago which is end of Q3 in 2018 we were just crossing 40 employees and now we are at the 160 mark so you can look at like just exponential growth I think we’ve changed offices two times since then because we just outgrow them and it’s painful yeah it is. In fact it takes two months to get the internet set up and four months later you have to move again without you know the indicators are good if you look at total revenue right we we danced between three and a half to four and a half times over the last 12 months especially we did a major press studies in the first quarter where we had the same kind of growth again Q3 to Q3 growth looks very similar and even if you look at things like number of customers a number of customers have not grown four times we’ve only grown that twice but the average revenue per customer has also doubled so it’s the product of two it’s not just the quantity of customer but it’s the value of each customers that’s also growing so that growth metric is not just at Tier one it’s also at the tier 2 level and same goes for product whether it’s users of product or the number of applicants you know we doubt this that sometime next year we expect to have somewhere around ten to fifteen percent of America find their job talking with audio and that’s huge if you think about it having started a company in 2016 growing it to the scale and then one out of six people that you bump into when you’re walking outside or you go to a movie theater whatever would have spoken with AllyO to find the job it’s really impactful speaking about the industry you know almost a year ago we had gone to our second conference that we had ever been to and we were lucky enough to be on the stage talking about the state of the art in AI and in different industry and we took a survey and 6% of the audience out of 113 attendees 6% of the audience said that they are willing to consider AI right now and now this year when we do this in a way it’s 25% so interesting that that same quadrupling factor can be observed in the market as well where the market is almost growing as fast as we are such that you know as we are growing we are not competing with anyone we’re just taking more and more share more and more opportunity that the market itself is presenting to us 

Jeanne Achille : 

well certainly a situation where it’s right place and right time but you know having actually interviewed many of your customers myself. I also know that you are known for extreme customer care really meant to high levels of customer satisfaction and I’ve heard your customers say that they feel AllyO is the best hire they ever made and I think that’s a ringing endorsement because as you know I speak with a lot of people in this industry and not every vendor can say that you know I’d like to turn the floor over to Ankit for a moment here we know that you just won yet another top HR product award so what’s next on the product roadmap that’s pretty impressive I think this is your second consecutive year right ?

Ankit Sonami : 

thank you I mean yeah first it is fantastic to be recognized by the industry and it’s so grateful for winning it two times in a row tells us we are on the right track and you know when we had run this when we run a survey a while ago around how people think about finding a job and they had rated it somewhere between going to a DMV or filing for a homeless that is how people think about planning for a job and to be able to be on the front seat and helping some customers several customers of ours make that change the making it as close to or one-click Amazon buy experience I think we are excited about that and our roadmap because you asked about that it’s very much driven by where we see gaps in our customer base no altima tree they are the biggest champions and really the main source of truth so for example you know it was after watching our customers work and when I say watching them work I mean literally walking the halls seeing recruiters juggle between lengths in their 80s talking to each other writing names of candidates on pillars right next to them physically moving candidates on a wall like that was the source of inspiration for us and that’s where it became clear that the entire recruiting team which included sources and recruiters alike needed that one-stop platform to run all their daily engagement and automation tasks and that was the core inspiration for AllyO sourcing which is what we won the award for not only this makes them run the process more efficiently they are able to also create and control delight for all other stakeholders made the applicants hiring managers HR leaders however the success of this platform that we have created is not only making engagement and automation easier it’s about bringing recognition to the hard work that is done by the recruiting team so it’s not a replacement if it’s the right buddy that helps them shine the most in their organization 

Jeanne Achille : 

Yeah I think that’s such an important point to make that you’re not replacing you’re very much taking recruiting to the next level and beyond so I know that you have incredible loyalty amongst the recruiters because they recognize the value of AllyO

Ankit Sonami : 

yeah and yeah this is what really led us to start thinking about what else can we do because when we went back to what we should do next is went back to the same source of truth which was the customers and we found that as the recruiting team started to see the advantage we just talked about of a single platform their HR counterparts were struggling with very similar problems lack of engagement with employees Stacey spoke about that earlier are too many different systems to run processes without any automation so everything was manual and not enough insights into how to really interpret data and it became clear to us and the customers that the Platinum platform that we have built has direct improv impact across human capital management so not just recruiting the entire HR suite the entire human capital management and hence we have launched solutions recently that extends our platform to solve needs across onboarding and training internal mobility ethics helpline pulse check-ins exit interviews drilling end-to-end almost following an applicant as a bit as they go into an organization become a new hire and over time continue their journey to become much more productive and the goal is to really have the single solution that helps the entire at your team with the right communication engagement and automation of tasks across applicants and it that’s what’s coming next with us 

Jeanne Achille : 

which is really exciting stuff because you know we’ve heard a lot about the employee experience and Stacey touched on employee engagement and you are clearly engaging and advancing that day-to-day experience for the employees as well as the HR professionals who are supporting them so that’s so important you know Sahil I’d like to turn the floor back to you for a few moments and talk about which market sectors you see benefiting the most from AllyO in your original format in terms of recruiting as well as some in these exciting new product offerings that aren’t it is mentioning today 

Sahil Sahni : 

Yes traditionally we have we’ve positioned ourselves as an AI recruiter that’s what we positioned ourselves as and in that positioning the benefit that customers have had has been in recruiting automation as a result to have any value from automation a must have a certain degree of volume right because if you don’t have volume of any repetitive tasks and what are you going to automate and so because of that of that fit we found a sweet spot or I would say the first two-and-a-half years of our existence in large enterprises or companies that hire a lot of hourly workers one of these two and so we end up catering to around fifteen percent of Fortune 50 companies we have the largest company in the world as a big customer of ours continuing to use us more and more and all of them do not have enough recruiters to entertain the volume of applicants that they get they just don’t have enough recruiters so they add AllyO as a member of their recruiting team who then works 24/7 and gives candidates the right experience and loosen the hiring team members as and when needed that’s being traditionally our focus as we stand we realize that this segment is a segment categorized as pays a lot but premium customer so very high value I mean like really high value when you look at across HR tech companies but there are few of them right you can get 500 customers of that sort are a lot of our progress on the product roadmap site has been to give the same level of value to the other segments of the market these other segments of the market include one dimension being the mid-market which are your smaller employers employers which has somewhere around 500 to 2,500 employees the – level of employer second companies that are not only looking to solve their candidate experience problems but like you said the employee experience problems it is historically it’s being a recruiter how do you translate the same technology to generate equal or more value on the employee side a lot of our growth that we have seen in the last two quarters a lot of our focus is for allier to get into the HR stage go across the HR space whether it’s recruiting all the way into employee experience and sell the same level of value to existing customers which are these premium customers but expand that down market towards mid market customers with the new products that we have and so if we have this conversation in 2020 right year from now you see that our mix is going to be roughly around 30 30 30 between where we traditionally so focus and these large businesses which are very high premium the mid market and then on the HR HCM side 

Jeanne Achille : 

very interesting we’ll all want to stay tuned and see where 2020 takes AllyO because you are definitely on a rocket ship right here Ankit I’m curious to hear from you regarding the competition I think that we’ve all seen the competition intensify in this category especially as it relates to AI but I think we can also acknowledge that there are different flavors of AI and there are vendors out there calling things AI that really really aren’t AI so what sets AllyO apart from these other vendors 

Ankit Sonami : 

I mean I think at the highest level even before I share what such AllyO apart it is exciting for the industry when it’s exciting that people are trying to solve all these different problems that HR is facing and it’s not so it’s not you know how it was ten years ago but solutions in HR are coming ten years after similar solutions have existed in sales and marketing right now the solutions in HR in some cases even are one step ahead of sales and marketing so I think it’s exciting that there are so many players we’re trying to solve problems that HR is facing now specific to AllyO the way we think about AllyO is an enterprise communication and automation platform for HR powered by AI, say that again enterprise communication and automation platform for HR powered by AI and what customers have told us that you know they are there are a couple of dimensions which are really important for them and where we have for the focus that we have shown have outer novated all existing players or even incumbents for that matter and those two dimensions are one is the breadth and depth of automation and second is enterprise compatibility so let me go one step deeper on both of them breath in depth of automations a part of breadth is what both Sahil and I have been talking about is how do you make a single platform that really creates the ability to run all your communication create all the automation possibilities on top of it create the right intelligence on top of it but exist across the entire HR requirements so entire need from applicant to new hire to an existing employee to somebody who chooses to not be in that company anymore so the breadth of automation the breadth of use cases from Hi to Hire to Goodbye that’s a big part of it and then we have chosen to go super deep in certain use cases where the problem was that deep example they’re scheduling the interval scheduling wherever you go there is nobody who says that I love to play Tetris on the calendar to find the right … 

Jeanne Achille : 

I can’t think of anything worse in fact 

Ankit Sonami : 

right it’s hard enough to maintain your own calendar like five hundred people who are interviewed so the ability to go so deep that you can set whatever form of interviewing you want but it’s one-on-one whether its group panel sequential whether it is for on-site video interviews the ability to set that and let it run by itself if something we have invested very deeply on and that’s an example you know as I was sharing that across different marketplaces different industry verticals we have seeing customers coming to it that’s an example where the see customers across so one dimension being the breadth and depth of automation the second being enterprise compatibility a lot of our customers especially in today’s day and age with GDP are in California coming up with new requirements they really care about security they care about data privacy things like user management seamless integrations with all the different systems they have because you know the moment they think about something like this they are in this dream line but then they are pulled out of that dream line thinking about all the different integrations they need to do and so knowing that it is just one click where it’s as easy as that that’s generally a sign of relief for them and finally the flexibility of configuration because you don’t want the same solution to appear exactly the same across customers it needs to mesh into their culture it needs to become who those customers are so the ability for them to have that kind of flexibility and configure the system to perform those the way they want to perform that’s it so this breadth and depth of automation and focus on enterprise compatibility has both made the hesitation lower for customers who think of AI as this black box whether they should deploy it or not as well as made it easy for them to show high ROI post-installation very quickly which leads to the high customer a series that I have mentioned 

Jeanne Achille : 

thank you thank you that’s a great recap I appreciate that I I want to turn the floor back over to Stacey for a moment because Stacey with all the choices in the HR technology category and and as Ankit has so eloquently described the emergence and the growing importance of AllyO why was AllyO the attractive investment opportunity for your firm 

Stacey Bishop : 

sure well I’ll give a couple of reasons but the main one and I love to describe AllyO as one of those investments and not all investments are like this or it’s a win-win for everybody and let me explain that further so for employers for example AllyO helps them respond you know to every candidate that applies to the job and helps them get the right candidates in for interviews in today before AllyO maybe it’s something like fifteen or twenty percent of all candidates who apply for a job even hear back from the company but when and we heard this directly from customers when you put AllyO in it allows them to respond to everyone and ask a few questions and figure out who are the right fits for you know the potential position available for the candidates or for the recruiter let me highlight that one next the individual recruiter they can now spend their time on the higher level tasks like interviewing candidates and not spend their time on going back and forth with Canada it’s trying to do the scheduling trying to look at calendars you know that’s something where the automation can handle those more simplistic tasks and then for the you know the end of candidate who’s trying to find the job they now finally get a response versus just kind of you know sending their resume or putting their information in or filling out applications and then never hearing back they actually get to engage with the company and you know while not everybody would get scheduled for an interview at least they’re going through the questions and figuring out which companies are the right fit so I just love that where all the constituents involved with you know did this are you know getting a better result and we heard that loud including from the customers who had used AllyO and even as compared to you know other vendors in the market we just AllyO’s name kept coming up time and time again and that’s what led us to reaching out to the company for a potential investment 

Jeanne Achille : 

you know I think I heard you hit on a keyword and that’s results and I know in our interviews with with AllyO’s customers that’s a word that came up over and over again and it was not just driving results but it was time you know the acceleration to results in today’s competitive business environment every company benefits when they’re able to get to the right candidate quickly and so it’s that combination of results and the elegance and efficiency of getting to the results quickly you know that brings us to the end of our Q&A with you; however, we’d like to open the floor to our attendees and give them a few moments to ask their questions.

 

Transcript — English (auto-generated)

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