Krish Ramineni and Sam Udotong are quintessential Silicon Valley: They breath code, bond over hackathons and one thrives on Soylent.
Their product’s hockey-stick growth curve isn’t: In atypical fashion, it happened simply by word of mouth rather than the usual PR blitz.
The 20-somethings are the duo behind call-automation startup Fireflies, an AI-powered platform for sales and customer support teams.
Fireflies’ customers have taken flight without the typical blast of marketing spending, said CEO and co-founder Ramineni. He and Udotong just passed it out to friends.
“It started spreading like wildfire within organizations because one [sales] rep starts using it and then another rep sees it and says, ‘What is that thing you’re using in your meetings? That’s pretty crazy, I want to use it.’”
It’s no surprise.
Fireflies’ AI addresses big pain points for enterprise call customers: automated call notes and recordings, automated customer relationship management (CRM) software entry, alerts to customer dissatisfaction in calls, sales coaching follow-up opportunities and more.
And it’s integrated with all the major web conferencing platforms — such as WebEx, Zoom, Skype for business — as well as CRM software and tools used by call pros, including Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoho and Slack, among others.
Fireflies plays in a lucrative software segment. CRM software revenue reached $39.5 billion in 2017 worldwide, a figure forecasted to grow 16 percent last year, according to data from researcher Gartner.
Founded in 2016 and launched last year, Fireflies has amassed more than 75 million conversations and is growing at a rapid clip. It uses all that chatter to continuously train its deep learning models running on NVIDIA GPUs in the Paperspace cloud.
What’s more, it trains models for different segments of customers, domains, industries and call types. It’s constantly working to refine its prediction accuracy, tapping techniques based off Monte Carlo reinforcement learning, which creates reward functions to optimize for accuracy.
“We no longer need to write custom rules for each organization,” said Ramineni.
Fireflies users include individuals and teams from companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Deloitte and Twitter.
Landing on Fireflies wasn’t easy. Like many millennial founders, the two dabbled with businesses ranging cryptocurrency to drones before landing on Fireflies. Rameni, a San Francisco Bay Area native, decided to hunker down with Udotong in Boston to initially hammer it out.
It took little effort to persuade New Jersey native Udotong to relocate to San Francisco, where they continued coding on Fireflies. Before long, Udotong had taken to Valley startup life and began daily consumption of Soylent, the popular meal replacement drink, which has nourished him for more than two years.
Fireflies, which is now a team of a dozen employees, was angel funded by Facebook, Salesforce and Coinbase. The company is also a member of the NVIDIA Inception program, a virtual accelerator that helps startups get to market faster.