A New Israeli Startup Converts WhatsApp Messages into an Information Vault of the Company
The serial entrepreneur Amir Haramaty reveals his new startup, which aims to organize the information of the organization.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you are concluding one more meeting, whether through Zoom, in or out the office - and you want to summarize the meeting.
After all, a large amount of important information is discussed during these meetings. When will you be able to do this? When you return to the office, in the evening, or perhaps even the next day? And what amount of that critical information will be included in the email summary, which will then be concealed in the mountain of emails? And what happens when you, or the person who receives your summaries, leaves the organization? Where does all this information end up?
It is estimated that only 10% of the critical information is stored in the organization, and even less is documented and shared with the rest of the organization.
The Israeli startup aiOla, which we are revealing today for the first time, wants to address exactly this agonizing problem, and to do so without complex interfaces or the application of new software.
A voice message - and the documentation work has been completed
aiOla is not just another tool which forces all your employees to learn the new interfaces and menus, not to mention the headaches that could cause you to postpone the on-the-job training, but a solution which connects to the main communication sources currently being used in the organization, whether it be WhatsApp, Slack, Microsoft Teams or more or less any other communication app. Amir Haramaty, the serial entrepreneur behind the startup, assured me that "If you know how to work with WhatsApp, you will knowhow to work with aiOla".
The concept of aiOla is both simple and complex. Have you just finished a meeting or a session? You simply send an audio message to an aiOla bot that is connected to one of your communication services, and describe in your own words everything that occurred and everything you experienced.
"All the vivid and fresh moments of the meeting," as Haramaty describes it. After you have sent everything that occurred at the meeting to the aiOla bot, you have completed your documentation work. From this point, aiOla takes the information, converts it into text and then proceeds to the analysis stage.
This fuel, in the form of voicemails or text messages, which you just entered, is analyzed by aiOla and broken down into fragments. Then, it is simply entered into the CRM systems of the organization. By the way, you can even send PDF files, photos and various documents to aiOla, all the data will be analyzed and simultaneously uploaded into the correct section, without the employees having to connect to cumbersome systems and fill out specific forms and rubrics - if they even bother to do so.
However, the employees of the organization not only detest entering information into a CRM, they also do not really check these systems prior to important meetings, and those who do check are perhaps the sales people, but certainly not the product people.
There are many organizations today which force you to work using the carrot and stick method. Most people will only login because it is necessary; they perform the required minimum because there is no alternative. With aiOla, all you need to do is talk to the system and we do the dirty work. However, that is when you realize the value you receive… instead of adapting yourself to the software, it adapts itself to you. It understands the organizational hierarchy and knows how to direct itself. These are very strong and ontological NLP capabilities.
Following the information entry and analysis phases, aiOla identifies various trends, events and opportunities, and is able to disseminate the information to the relevant factors whether at their request, or automatically.
For example, Haramaty demonstrated how are presentative advised of a customer who was not yet ready to expand their insurance, but thinks that this will be possible in the following year. Just prior to the meeting of an entirely different representative, which takes place a year later, aiOla extracts this information for the representative who requested a briefing about the customer, and in fact reminds the representative of this basic event which could have been easily forgotten.
aiOla, which acts very similar to a chat bot, is able to respond to queries and even provides graphs, tables and other details which can support the decision-making processes. A customer has requested a certain feature, or perhaps, a number of additional customers? aiOla is also able to identify this trend and pass it on to the relevant team.
It seems that Haramaty wants to turn aiOla into the organization melting pot into which everyone tosses the components they have collected along the way, and in the end, the melting pot will minimize the components, and everyone will have a portion in it.
Haramaty compares aiOla to a type of office coffee corner where those who are present, talk about the day they had and hopefully an exchange of information takes place which generates mutual fertilization. However, the concept of the "office coffee corner" is becoming more problematic in our time, since this coffee corner can be scattered among the homes of employees, perhaps even in different cities and countries around the world, as well as between different offices and branches.
“Employees no longer sit down for lunch and talk about what just happened with a customer this morning. This new world produces an even larger challenge since the points of interaction are dwindling. However, with our solution, you finalize everything remotely and update aiOla in 10 seconds of what happened, and everyone around can receive these insights.”
What about user privacy? You are requesting the users to report quite a large amount of inside information about yourself
Haramaty: “The nice thing here is that nothing gets to us. Everything is on the customer side in the cloud. The tools you use within the organization or On-prem, everything remains with you and we do not see anything. Do we have the ability to record conversations with a customer? Yes we do; however, do we want to activate this? Not at the moment, this is an excessive invasion of privacy“.
In this manner, Haramaty is also trying to eliminate the similarities between aiOla and other products like those of Gong, which are also designed to extract insights from sales and service conversations. When I asked him about the inevitable similarities between the two companies, he claimed that "we are not dealing with selling to the customer but with gaining insights within the organization, with regard to competitors, the customer, and the market etc. Unlike Gong, in which one is required to login, with our product nothing is required. We basically ride on what you use. There is also an element of privacy here, and there is no need to record the customer. I will remove the important landmarks and I will manage this without friction based on what you have today."
From Adallom and Onavo to SparkBeyond
Haramaty knows a thing or two about the Israeli entrepreneurial world. He has served in several roles at Amobee, in Onavo, which was acquired by Facebook. Adallom, which was sold to Microsoft and until recently was at SparkBeyond - the startup which managed to reach profitability "without a single sales person".
Haramaty explains that he has chosen to embark on a new path with aiOla. SparkBeyond produces deep insights for organizations, but this is performed by data scientists. I wanted to reach as many users as possible and aiOla has a trigger for mass accessibility. "
“I was able to sit in the front row and see the great promise of AI in the world. Subjectively, the great promise of the AI revolution has not failed around the world, but it is far from being successful. Almost all of the amazing technologies that are being built are designated for a limited few”. Unlike this, Haramaty is targeting aiOla for a much wider audience.
In the meantime, it seems that Haramaty and aiOla are progressing well. The company has completed a seed raising of $9 Million from investors such as Marc Rowan of Apollo (which recently acquired Yahoo and AOL); Mitch Gerber (who, among others, also invested in the Israeli company Tetavi); David Bonderman of TPG; as well as the participation of other investors such as the Harlap family, the first investors in Mobileye and the importers of Mercedes and Hyundai in Israel; The Unger family and Kobi Richter. Since then, the company has succeeded in closing an additional SAFE round, and is now in the midst of a new round of raising.
Meanwhile, the company works with several Fortune 100 companies, and industry global leaders. The company was founded in2020 by Guy Ernest, former Head of AI Architecture at Amazon Global. Haramaty joined aiOla as a co-founder and CEO in the first half of 2021.
On the way to $10 Million ARR
In the past six months, aiOla has managed to double its ARR to "Millions", within consecutive quarters, and Haramaty expects the company to cross the $10 Million ARR mark early next year.
In addition, the company has doubled its staff to 37 employees, but he says that "it is difficult to recruit people in Israel." He describes the race for talented people as "crazy", even though he managed to receive sixteen employee contract signatures for the 16 jobs which were offered. "It will not remain like this, but this provides me with additional proof that we not only hired good people, but also the most suitable people …. When I served as the COO of Adallom I visited Israel, looked around and checked the cumulative professional experience of the people and it was less than an average of two years per person. Now, we already gained 500 years of experience, all together. We have a mature team and we have been able to build both a culture and a vibe. This is a team with which I can go to war with, sort of speak.”
Looking for combat soldiers - not onlygraduates of Unit 8200
Haramaty is very proud of the fact that 50% of the leaders in aiOla are actually women leaders, such as Anat Assaf (COO), Meytal Fine (VP Business Solutions) and Sivan Golov (VP Product) - and rightly so.
He also tells me about an additional much more surprising initiative: as part of the expansion of the company, they also opened an office in Ramat Yishai (nearby Yokneam-Illit), in which he plans not to employ the usual employees, graduates of military technology units, but rather discharged soldiers from combat units with no technical background, residents of Arab villages in the Galilee and others. "We are big believers in connecting with the periphery and the almost uninvolved populations, and we realized that this was a win - win opportunity." Among other things, Haramaty says that he has already hired a mother of four from Alonei-Abba for this office, who is notable to travel to the offices of the Company in Herzliya, for the position of Data Scientist Vice President; as well as the Director of a research group from Bethlehem of Galilee. 'One of the hardest positions is Head of Data Science, in our company this person is a soldier in the “Sayeret Matkal” Unit. You will not find many places that have such a mixed group of people. This is beyond business and technology. It is a calling.”'
It seems as if all the stations visited by Haramaty during his career have led him here, from the desire for a mature team, to diverse integration in the workplace and the fact that this time around he wants to make AI accessible to the masses. He seems very enthusiastic about the idea, but not without concerns: “If I had the ability today to construct 4times more runways, we would land planes on all of them. In none of the companies I have worked for in the past has this option arisen so soon. This is a crazy opportunity, and it is very easy for it to be ruined.”
The original interview can be found here.