While an associate at a VC firm, Nicolas Sharp took on the project of finding customer relationship management (CRM) software for the firm. The process, he says, was "a nightmare," leading him to build a CRM platform that could meet his -- and his company's -- needs.
"I became a developer by night and a VC by day," Sharp told TechCrunch via email. "After a few months, I left the venture world to continue the project."
"The project" morphed into Attio, a CRM platform that combines a performant data model with the collaboration capabilities typically found in no-code software. Founded in 2019, Attio caught on quickly, according to Sharp -- crossing the $1 million annual recurring revenue mark in December 2022.
Attio has more than 2,000 customers in over 100 countries today. And it's raising capital, just this morning announcing that it secured $23.5 million in a Series A round led by Redpoint Ventures with continued participation from Balderton Capital and Point Nine.
To date, 25-employee Attio has raised $31.2 million.
"Despite the current macroeconomic climate, we’re in an excellent position right now. We have multiple years of runway and are well-positioned to build what we really need to build," Sharp said.
The Attio interface, table view. Image Credits: Attio
Like most CRMs, Attio's platform creates a database of contacts and companies that a business regularly interacts with. It allows users to sort, filter and analyze customer records as well as take notes and create workflows, automatically updating details like contact information.
"When you use Attio for the first time, it syncs with your email and calendar and creates a view of your customer relationships with profiles, timelines of interactions and conversations, access to emails and intelligence on the strength of each relationship," Sharp explained. "You can also connect any other data source to Attio through our API. From there, you can sort through and filter these records and build workflows for different industries, use cases or scenarios."
Sharp isn't ignorant of the fact that the CRM game has serious competition, Salesforce aside. Gameball, a customer intelligence and marketing CRM platform, recently emerged from stealth with $3.5 million in venture backing. A larger rival is Glia, valued at over $1 billion, which is developing an AI-based CRM that lets agents get hands-on to help.
Sharp sees Attio's performance -- and price ($119 per user per month on the high end) -- as its key differentiators. Legacy CRMs, he avers, can be very powerful with complex data models, but also slow to deploy and costly. Meanwhile, CRM startups and in-house CRMs provide a better, stabler experience, but come with more simplistic and rigid models.
"There have been a lot of startups that have tried to challenge in the CRM space," Sharp said. "However, the fact that even with all of these options so many people are still in 'DIY mode' and so unhappy with their CRM means there's a lot of space for disruption."
Attio, not resting on its laurels, soon plans to launch a real-time reporting feature that'll allow users to slice, manipulate and visualize customer records. Other capabilities in the works include expanded workflow automation.
"The biggest challenge that CRM is facing is that the industry is dominated by one company. As a result, the current state of CRM is nearly the same as it was over 20 years ago," Sharp said. "That’s why startups prefer to run on a spreadsheet for as long as they can. The Attio philosophy, which sets it apart from other CRMs, is that it's designed to be flexible and adaptable, able to meet businesses where they are in their journey and grow with them as they scale."