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This AI startup wants to take over sales and marketing jobs

  • Justin Caffier

Let it, I say.

I know lots of people in sales and marketing. They’re mostly kind, well-meaning people. And even if they weren’t, they’d still deserve basic human dignity and their survival necessities met. But when it comes to the actual work they do, I’d be the first to tell them to their faces that it not only provides little to negative value to society, but also strips away some of their humanity. In their efforts to justify the existence of their professions, sales and marketing people have developed a bizarre little cottage industry and ecosystem of seminars, buzzwords, and communication tactics that can be immediately off-putting to those outside of their circles not already sipping the Kool-Aid.

So when I learned that Falkon, a Seattle-based sales and marketing data startup that seeks to ultimately hand the bulk of this work over to AI, had just raised $16 million in funding, I shed no tears. Normally I’m the first in line to protect AI intrusion into someone’s livelihoods, but we’ve all got to draw lines in the sand somewhere.

By marrying the popularity of corporate collaboration and project management platforms with AI that takes all the drudgery out of crunching numbers to determine best practices and strategies that will yield the highest ROI, management, marketing, and sales teams will be able to effortlessly optimize their synergy levels—whew, even momentarily dipping into that sort of vocabulary is soul-crushing and these people will be better off when they don’t have to use it eight hours a day after Falkon’s AI frees them from their shackles.

Now sitting pretty on a pile of funding, the team at Falkon is finally able to leave the coworking space that kept them afloat throughout the pandemic in the rearview and are finally movin’ on up to a deluxe office in the sky. Ok, the new digs are technically across the street from their former spot, but surely they’re a floor or two higher.

Co-founded in 2019 by Aakash Kambuj, Mona Akmal, and Josh Zana, a trio of analytics obsessives with backgrounds at Microsoft, Dropbox, and other companies of their pedigree, Falkon’s software uses API connections to pull data from all the usual market data repositories you’d expect. Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Outreach are in the mix, as well as larger customer data sources like Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s Redshift. In an ironic twist, Falkon’s biggest competitors are the in-house reports from Salesforce and Tableau, so taking them out with their own tools would be something.

The company currently has only 15 customers who are paying between nothing and $100,000 each, based on a sort of sliding scale model Falkon seems to be offering based on the scope and size of the customer’s operation (I’d aim for the subscription tier under six-figures, but that’s just me.) They’ve so far raised a total of $20 million in funding, which seems to indicate that investors have confidence in their ability to grow that user base.

With artificial intelligence shouldering the burden of the driest aspects of the sales and marketing fields, the employees who once had to melt their brains in service of scrying objective fiduciary truths about the business can now, in theory, put their gray matter to better use brainstorming the fun elements of a marketing campaign. Or schmoozing with coworkers. Or getting a new job entirely and making something with their hands.