Jessica Lin
Sep 13, 2018 · 5 min read

Customer success. Made simple. Made beautiful. Made for you.

For the past five years at Work-Bench, we’ve built an enterprise tech community that brings together thousands of “suits and hoodies” through 200+ events a year, which has enabled us to connect and collaborate with countless talented people and companies throughout the NYC ecosystem.

We’re thrilled to announce our latest investment in founders we have known for years through our Work-Bench community, as we lead Catalyst’s $3M financing, with participation from True Ventures, Compound Ventures, and Ludlow Ventures.

A NYC Enterprise History

We’re proud of Catalyst’s origin story because it reflects the exciting growth of NYC — how great founders build a strong foundation at many of NYC’s growth companies, and from there spin out and power the next generation of NYC startups.

Kevin & SalesHacker Meetups back in 2016
Inviting Edward to join us for an Enterprise Customer Success Leaders Dinner in 2016

It’s really special when we get to know and collaborate with founders for several years before investing in them. As you can see from these emails above — showing Kevin Chiu’s sales hustle organizing the SalesHacker Meetups here at Work-Bench and Edward Chiu’s deep customer success expertise at DigitalOcean — we had experience with their unique hustle and expertise early on.

The two brothers come out of DigitalOcean, one of the fastest growing cloud companies and one of NYC’s top enterprise startups. The company reached $100M+ ARR without a sales team, and a large part of that success was due to DigitalOcean’s customer success team. While at DigitalOcean, Edward and his customer success team built an internal product that helped them manage over a million customers, reduce churn to less than 1%, and grow revenue by 30%.

Not only did their 20+ person customer success team at DigitalOcean rely on this product on a daily basis, but the executive team used it for financial reporting on churn/upsell opportunity, and the product/engineering team used it for reporting on product feedback.

They ended up leaving to build a similar product for the mass market, which became Catalyst.

The Product

Catalyst is taking a fresh approach to customer success by building a truly unified platform for customer data — to analyze product usage and user behavior to predict churn, increase product usage, and drive upsells.

Since the platform is built from the ground up for customer success managers by founders who were previously customer success managers, they know that the right solution is one that is able to consolidate customer data from any data source (without involving engineering), while also being able to adapt to a customer success manager’s workflow depending on what customer segment they are managing.

There are three key elements of the platform:

1. Customer Data: One of the biggest blockers for customer success is getting visibility and access into the customer data they need which typically live in platforms owned by other department stakeholders (i.e. CRM with Salesforce, usage with Mixpanel, ticketing with Zendesk, live chat with Intercom).

Because Catalyst knows how difficult and time-consuming getting data from each of these departments is, they built 1-click integrations which enable customer success to easily funnel in this data into one place, giving customer success managers a single pane of glass to understand what’s going on with their customers.

2. One Stop Shop Workflow: Once all the customer data is connected, Catalyst allows CS managers to place their workflow on top of that to automate the tedious actions of customer success such as manual data entry, logging calls/emails, scheduling meetings, sending repetitive emails, etc. to allow them to spend their time proactively and strategically, like building meaningful relationships and driving upsell.

Catalyst takes a unique approach in the sense that they believe every company operates customer success differently and within each customer success organization, there are multiple teams that need different workflows (SMB, Mid-market, Enterprise, Low-touch, High-touch, etc). With that in mind, they made Catalyst highly customizable so customer success managers could apply the workflow they were used to without having to build workarounds.

3. Analytics & Insights: Where we really nerd out with excitement is the depth of data and metric analysis they bring to CS teams. Just as Looker opened up analytics for BI and Mixpanel opened up user behavior analytics for product, Catalyst will be able to open up a whole new layer of usage analytics for customer success teams previously untapped — across metrics like account penetration, active user ratio, product usage visibility, cross-sell potential, and more.

Because Catalyst is built for customer success users by customer success users, the product has a very strong emphasis on user experience, and thoughtful and intuitive product design. Our view is that a superior user experience can beat out similar competitors who don’t prioritize product design. What’s more, Catalyst’s ability to deploy customers on the same day puts them many (agile) miles ahead of traditional platforms existing in the space with 8–12+ months deployments.

Community and Customer Validation

What’s been exciting is how many CS teams from best-in-class companies from the NYC enterprise community are already piloting Catalyst.

What we’re also really enthusiastic about is the world-class team that Catalyst is assembling, with senior leaders hailing from great NYC companies like Percolate, Bluecore, and more. We love their team’s focus on diversity and the wonderful culture they’ve focused on fostering since day one. We can also personally attest to their master karaoke and board game skills ;)

Catalyst continues to grow, and grow fast! If you’re interested in learning about opportunities with their team, check out their careers page here.

Team Work-Bench & Team Catalyst
The talented Catalyst team!

Work-Bench

Work-Bench is an enterprise technology VC fund in NYC. We support early go-to-market enterprise startups with community, workspace, and corporate engagement.

Jessica Lin

Written by

co-founder & VC @Work_Bench | GED educator | rethinking work

Work-Bench

Work-Bench is an enterprise technology VC fund in NYC. We support early go-to-market enterprise startups with community, workspace, and corporate engagement.

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