For anyone who knows us at Work-Bench, two of our most spoken words are “customer empathy.”
We’re laser focused on investing in enterprise startups addressing Fortune 500 customer needs, and when we come across founding teams who possess a relentless commercial drive paired with a unique market insight, often driven by firsthand domain expertise, exciting things follow.
To that end, we’re thrilled to announce our investment in Alkymi’s $5M Seed raise along with Canaan Partners.
The Problem: How is ‘Copy and Paste’ a Top Enterprise Workflow in 2020?!
There’s been endless pontification around the death of email as tools like Slack have continued their adoption in the workplace. The dirty secret is that email isn’t going anywhere, and the only thing worse than tasks piling up in people’s inboxes is the amount of data stuck in documents such as PDFs and Excel attachments buried in an email wasteland.
Despite years of digitization, documents still underpin many enterprise workflows. Within financial services, banks receive on average 400 to 500 daily transaction requests in the form of unstructured data, which creates a high volume of manual work for operations teams. The result has been that financial services companies spend billions on manual document processing that creates stubborn barriers to automation and often miss insights that generate an edge when transactions, risk, and relationships are locked within documents.
The workflow for exchanging these documents between customers, partners, and enterprises remains email, which comes with its own set of problems:
- The process is slow: Manual data entry is unpredictable and not scalable.
- Higher incidence for lost data: Email is brittle and the copy-paste process is error-prone.
- The process is expensive: Manually extracting data is expensive.
- The process is fragmented: Business data is fragmented across repositories with limited visibility.
The Solution: Introducing Alkymi’s Data Inbox
Alkymi has built an elegantly simple solution powered by sophisticated technology beneath the surface. Introducing the Data Inbox.
What we appreciate about Alkymi is their focused product vision. As explained on the Alkymi blog:
Alkymi Data Inbox is not a Swiss Army knife for automation, and it’s definitely not a platform to architect new business processes. Instead, we focus squarely on the front end of your data workflow by liberating trapped data the second it enters your enterprise. And we make it fast and easy to get the right data to the right person, business process or system
Check out this overview GIF above which shows how easy it is to load documents, extract data with high confidence, and empower an analyst to only dig into a portion of a document which may need quick human validation.
Alkymi’s product offers transparent data extraction using NLP and Computer Vision advances which have made breakthroughs in tabular data extraction. A key element of their approach is that humans can quickly get involved in areas where the model’s certainty doesn’t pass a necessary threshold, and the remainder of existing workflows stay the same.
As opposed to RPA which tends to focus on more brittle processes within IT, Alkymi directly targets business analysts who today rely on manual copying and pasting of data. Right off the bat Alkymi offers an ROI of 50% which improves over time through additional automation. With enterprise grade features such as reporting, data lineage, and the ability to deploy behind a firewall, it is ready for prime time in the Fortune 500 where business analysts would rather work with a customer or focus on higher value work internally.
We love it when founders address pain points they’ve lived and breathed firsthand in the enterprise. CEO Harald Collet’s background at Bloomberg as GM for their Vault product and as VP Sales at Autonomy had him hearing on a daily basis from business users trying to unlock value from their data. Pair this with the technical expertise of Chief Data Scientist Adam Kleczewski and CTO Steven She’s experience at x.ai and Two Sigma where they focused on data extraction, human annotation, and real-time predictions for human in the loop models, and you’ve got the perfect combination of domain expertise and the ability to create a killer product to address this need.
We’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the Alkymi team in our community workspace since their inception, and it’s inspiring to see such commercial traction and pull from the market for such an early stage company. Their launch with public customer SimCorp is an incredible validation of their work but also just the tip of the iceberg for some of the challenges they’re solving, which in the future will extend beyond financial services into healthcare, retail, and more.
Congratulations to the entire Alkymi team on the announcement and we look forward to continuing to work together in the trenches to support your vision.
Thanks to Kira Colburn for her helpful edits on this post!