Information is everywhere and in overwhelming quantities. Attentive aims to manage that information and deliver it as you need it, integrating their system with the companies’ CRM. I talked to Daniel Araújo, CEO of Attentive, to find out more about it, and about the startup scene in general.
What is Attentive and how did the idea come about?
Attentive is an enterprise tool that gives real time information to sales teams about their leads – like when they get investment, are hiring or launched a new product. We do this by integrating with the company’s CRM – Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics.
I was always interested in information management, and during my time at Google I felt that I didn’t have a good context about my clients. I only had 13 or 14, but sometimes we missed crucial information like when they decided to enter a new market, which would mean a big up selling opportunity. We started exploring this idea of bringing real time information to professionals, and decided to launch it in the beginning of 2015.
In a world of Big Data and constant connection, how can information be “tamed”?
It’ll never be “tamed” completely, but as we have more and more signals about our daily routines, the quality exponentially increases. We started using the smartphones as a source of context – where the user is, who is he meeting in the near future, etc but realized that companies have a much, much richer data source: their CRMs. Connecting thousands of sources and databases to the individual context of every person adds massive value to their day-to-day – they no longer need to spend hours searching for information about their leads or clients, it’ll get to them as it happens.
How does your international work experience help in creating a startup in Portugal?
I was still in London when we decided that we wanted to launch Attentive, and we considered launching it in the UK. It was fairly obvious that if we were to launch it there, the first priority had to be fundraising instead of product development. That’s why we decided to move to Portugal and spend our first few months developing the core product and getting feedback from clients. Nonetheless, we are definitely building a company that wants to compete globally, not just in Portugal or Europe.
You plan to go after the US market. What challenges do you foresee?
The US is an obvious jump for us. Attentive is particularly useful for sophisticated sales teams, and there are many that fit this profile in the US. Given our limited network there, we decided to enter the market through an top-tier accelerator program, which will probably happen this year. The other big challenge is navigating all the noise around competition, potential partnerships, clients, etc – There will be a lot going on, so it’ll be more demanding than ever.
What are your immediate and medium term growth plans?
We are now signing the first paying customers, so the most important thing right now is making sure they have a fantastic experience. As soon as they do (i.e. we achieve a retention rate that we’re comfortable with) we’ll start focusing on growth.
Portugal is getting noticed in the startup scene, with growing international success cases. How do you see this evolving?
When I started reading more about the Portuguese scene, back in 2011, everything was missing. Fortunately, a lot of people at that time believed in our potential and the results are starting to show with good investment rounds, the Web Summit, startups with 100+ employees, etc. Our next challenge is twofold: a) how can we attract international talent to live in Portugal in a more permanent basis and b) how do we make sure that startups aren’t forced to move somewhere else as they become a scale-up.
What other startup is on your radar and why?
The new Lisbon Challenge batch just started and I’m keeping a very close eye on the startups there! There are three or four projects that have an incredible potential and are way more developed than we were when we joined the acceleration program back in September.
What do you wish you’d have known when you first started?
What’s your character limit? 🙂 I left Google feeling that I was improving at a rate of 5% per year, and in 2015 the rate felt at 200% – I had to learn absolutely everything from pitching to product, design or fundraising, so it was incredibly positive!
To give you a specific example, I wish that we had focused way earlier on enterprise software instead of trying to develop Attentive for everyone. We read everywhere and heard from everyone that you should start with a very concrete niche a grow from there instead of trying to apply your solution in a very generic way, but we still fell for that in the beginning. Fortunately it wasn’t too late and we seem to have found people interested on what we’re doing!
Find out more about Attentive at http://attentive.us/