Dear Kevin,

Dear Kevin,

By Scott Sambucci | February 19, 2012

We’re lame – we didn’t post to the commonred contest. Yet, here we are with the audacity to ask for a few moments of your time because we’re two guys that worked their tail off to take 2nd place at Startup Weekend-San Jose, hacking together a working prototype and finding three pilot customers in less than two days.

Company status:

  • We now have seven (7) pilot customers interested, of which we’ll choose three (3) to launch by June 1. We’re only choosing three because we want to get it right.
  • We have another company that is already committed to pay for our services later this year, skipping the pilot phase.
  • The pilots are our real-time learning – we’re rocking the Eric Ries MVP model.
  • We’re self-funded and ticking off the ugly start-up expenses like incorporating with a really, really good SV firm.

The product:

SalesQualia uses text analytics and data mining to assess the quality of sales calls.  As a 15-year sales and technology executive that’s built and run sales organizations, I know this is a huge problem in a giant industry to solve.  Hiring poorly costs time, training, salary, and the opportunity cost of lost revenue for the time a bad rep is handling inbound leads.

This technology is already deployed regularly with customer service sentiment analysis, and early indications are the carry-over to a sales environment is very doable.

We provide diagnostic and quality reports for individual sales calls, and summaries of time to assess performance improvement.

The very basic guts so far:

  • Python Natural Language Toolkit
  • Salesforce’s platform for initial product launch
  • Mongo database

A few technical problems we know about:

  • Handling audio file storage. Audio files are really big and nasty.
  • Security & privacy – where does the data sit? Do we purge after transcription and analysis? Who owns the data?
  • Integrating with GoToMeeting and WebEx. We’ll need a pretty nifty C++ coder, or use an off-the-shelf product like Nuance’s SpeechMagic (but is it good enough for our parsing and analysis requirements?)

A few non-technical problems we know about:

  • Enterprise is about as sexy as my Accounting professor in undergraduate school.
  • As a founder, I’m not Peter Theil, haven’t invented Gmail, or figured out that people care about what food you’re eating at a rest stop in Bakersfield. 
  • We haven’t quit our day jobs yet.  Not because we don’t want to – it’s because we made personal commitments to our respective companies, and what’s fair is fair. But we’re close, very close to getting there.

Why we care about meeting you:

  • We want an honest appraisal of the business model and how we can improve it.
  • We’d like to know at least two more technical problems we haven’t thought of yet.
  • We’d like you to introduce to three other really smart people that can tell more about where to go with the company.
  • You seem like a genuinely nice guy, and so are we.

Who we are:

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