Earlier this week People.ai, a San Francisco-based startup with Ukrainian roots, announced a $100 million Series D funding round — reaching a $1.1 billion post-money valuation.
The round was co-led by Akkadian Ventures and Mubadala Capital, the Emirati sovereign wealth fund, with participation from existing investors including ICONIQ Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
“On rare occasions, we come across a company that will forever change how we work,” stated Abdulla AlBanna of Mubadala Capital’s US venture business. “People.ai stands above the competition in its ability to transform people’s processes across an entire organization. By applying breakthrough AI technology to vast data sets, People.ai is significantly improving efficiencies of enterprise processes, increasing productivity and performance across workflows.”
“The capital will support People.ai’s continued growth through investments in the company’s SmartData platform and its expansion into new industry segments and geographies,” stated the new unicorn.
“The true meaning of predictive enterprise”
In an interview with Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA, People.ai founder Oleg Rogysnkyy said the round wasn’t actually on our list of plans because we still [had] a lot of money in our bank account.” The round was closed in a matter of weeks after Akkadian Ventures, then Mubadala Investment approached the company in June.
This round is likely to be “our last pre-IPO round,” Rogysnkyy added.
People.ai defines itself as an “AI platform for enterprise sales, marketing, and customer success that uncovers revenue opportunities.” Its technology analyzes company data in order to reveal “what sales activities will be successful to get your deals done and when to focus on which customer accounts” — which “the true meaning of predictive entreprise,” as Rogysnkyy defined it in a past media interview.
The platform captures sales, marketing, and customer success activity data across email, calendar, phone, and other systems to automate “over 90% of CRM data entry, and identify the right buying group for every deal.”
Startup highs and lows
The Ukrainian-founded startup raised its first equity funding round back in 2016, soon after its foundation. The money came from Garage Technology Ventures, one of the most established venture funds in Silicon Valley, as well as from a bevy of US and Ukrainian business angels.
In May 2017, the future unicorn raised $7 million in a Series A funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Index Ventures and Shasta Ventures as well as existing investors Y Combinator and SV Angel.
The company raised a$30 million Series B round in October 2018 — followed by an additional $60 million capital injection seven months later (May 2019).
The startup also encountered difficult times: in April 2020, as reported by AIN.UA, it was “making cuts and raising a debt round to secure its future amid global uncertainty.”
However, during the pandemic, People.ai doubled its headcount and turnover. Over the past year, People.ai claims its customer growth increased by 260%. The company acquired two companies: Closeplan, a leader in customer revenue automation, and Hero Research, relaunching Hero.app as PeopleGlass to “turbo-charge the sales team’s productivity when updating and editing CRM data.”
Currently, People.ai employs a bit more than 240 employees, up from 140 in May, according to AIN.UA reports. The company has its headquarters in Redwood City (Silicon Valley) and several R&D centers in Ukraine, from Kyiv (Kiev), to Dnipro, to Kharkiv (Kharkov), to Lviv (Lvov).