Culture

2018 - Reflections on the Future

January 18, 2019

Thinking about 2018

2018 was one heck of a year.

We started the year as a team of 3 co-founders, 1 barely-functional AI command-line demo, and $650,000 in pre-seed funding that we’d closed that past November. [1]

However, those were all of the positive numbers we had going for us. We had 0 customers, 0 product, and 0 idea of what it meant to build a startup.

But we did have a mission: give everyone the opportunity to be a genius at their job. We had a thought: why must knowledge professionals waste over 38% of their day looking for stuff and asking their teammates for help. Something didn’t add up. And we had to fix it.

Looking back on that, it’s pretty unthinkable how far the team has come since then. Within a couple months, we talked to dozens of customers, and built our initial MVP, an information retrieval tool targeting one job: customer support agents, the unsung heroes of the enterprise. We also raised a small $330K extension to our initial round. [2]

And then… things started snowballing.

By May, it was clear that our idea resonated. We'd launched our first pilot customers. We hired our first Engineer and Intern. A few more customers signed up. And we were accepted into TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield!!!

And… well… the rest is history.

By the end of 2018, we:

It was incredibly humbling to see that the mission we set out to achieve was resonating, and we’re thankful to all of our customers, teammates, and investors for beginning this journey with us!

Thinking ahead

2018 has undoubtedly given us a lot to look back on. And we’re even more excited for 2019.

As Forethinkers, it’s in our DNA to think about the future. About what’s possible. And to make it happen.

And there's a lot to make happen in 2019.

We started with Agatha Answers for Zendesk and Salesforce. Next, we’re building new products on top of our engine, going beyond answers, to giving insights and predictions. We’re launching Agatha for new workflows, like your shared inbox, and your website. More data connectors. A touch of empathetic, user-centric design. And doubling-down on building an AI that performs like magic.

None of this is possible without the builders, designers, sellers, and doers, that make an organization what it is. In our case: the Forethinkers. We want to build the best team in the world. To build a place where every single human comes to work excited about what they’re building and why they’re building it.

Wait... Forethinkers?

Yes. Forethinkers. That quirky name we’ve given ourselves. More importantly, that term for who we want to be!

Forethinkers strive to Move with Momentum. We help each other move fast (velocity), and yield outsized value (mass). We iterate, design solutions, solve problems, and focus on impact.

Forethinkers strive to Put Customers First. We focus on the needs and experience of the user as much as the tech. Customer success as much as sales. We aim to delight.

Forethinkers strive to Be Team Players. We have low ego, and focus on the success of the team. We help the people around us realize their superpowers.

Forethinkers strive to Act with Integrity. We are honest and open. We trust our teammates, and honor the trust placed in us.

Forethinkers strive to Live for Feedback. We are data-driven, and seek to create positive feedback loops. We actively listen, are receptive, and give quality suggestions to make everyone better.

This list isn’t perfect. By all means, far from it. For example, I, myself, even as a Founder, am still learning how to communicate feedback well. In a similar vein, this does not mean that we only hire you who are absolute masters of these values, but rather that these values mean something to you.

The journey has just begun

We are solving some of the hardest problems in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language understanding, information retrieval, and human-computer interaction. We are building elegant systems that help other people become rock-stars at what they do. And we are beyond excited to help make this mission a reality.

Thank you to everyone, to our investors, to our customers, to our friends and family, and to the Forethinkers who’ve joined the journey. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Here’s to 2019.

Here’s to the Forethinkers who haven’t joined us yet.

And here’s to the future.


- Deon

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[1] Led by Manu Kumar at K9 Ventures, with participation from 8VC, Original Capital, Ruchi Sanghvi, Suranga Chandratillake, Vlad Novakovski, Mike Junge, and Julien Boubel
[2] With participation from Village Global, K9 Ventures, Original Capital, Yanda Erlich, William Smith, Suranga Chandratillake, Henry Ward, and Brennan O'Donnell
[3] With participation from K9 Ventures, Village Global, Original Capital, William Smith, Suranga Chandratillake, Ruchi Sanghvi, Kelvin Beachum Jr., Mathilde Collin, Jeremy Erlich, Yan-David Erlich, Brianne Kimmel, Vlad Tenev, Alexa von Tobel, and Mallun Yen