Building Riley

TL;DR: We officially announced our Pre-Seed round of $1.9M with participation from GoAhead Ventures, Laconia Ventures, Neil Sahota (founding member of IBM Watson & Master Inventor), Jonathan Shipman (founding member of Twitch), TiE NY, among others.

Before we jump in and tell you where we’re going, I want to recap what transpired to get us here.

We’ve all been in situations, regardless of industry or age, where we’ve forgotten important information. Whether it’s follow-ups, deliverables, or personal anecdotes, we’ve all had that moment where you knew you blew it and wished you had a better memory.

Many resources exist to solve this issue, from scattered sticky notes to cocktail napkins, from various notepads to memory training, or tech solutions from “Bumping” smartphones to transcribers. Still, none of these solutions are designed for the modern-day. They’re not intended for people on the go, hopping through zoom meetings, or designed to be integrated into people’s already existing workflow. And last but certainly not least, there’s a distinct void of voice-enabled artificial intelligence powering these platforms. 

Also, LinkedIn is excellent for what it does, and it’s been the business-networking staple for nearly 20 years. But it’s meant to be the beginning of a relationship–not the part we’re solving. The first AI-powered relationship insights platform.

How did Riley Start?

Like many people, I really enjoy getting to know people. Regardless of where I was professionally, my singular driving goal was building genuine or authentic connections with those around me. I’ve enjoyed mentoring and connecting people, and actually, feed off the energy from doing so. Regardless of where I was in my life, whether it was starting my first company at 15, while I was in college, or finance, I had the desire to help and be there for people, to connect them with people who are helpful, and to learn forever the details that make people tick.

The Fateful Event.

This all culminated while I was at a wedding up in Cape Cod, and I saw a 65-year-old guy wearing a NY Knicks hat. I immediately thought of two things: 1) I’ve never seen someone wear a baseball hat to a wedding, and 2)  I’ve never seen someone with the stones to wear a Knicks hat this close to Boston. I love meeting new people, so I decided to approach him. Over the next 30 to 45 minutes, we talked, we laughed, and I learned a bunch of things about him. He’s a doctor from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he drinks Macallan 12, he’s obviously a Knicks fan, and I thought to myself: I need to introduce him to my dad. They’re about the same age, doctors, both of them love the Knicks and a good glass of whiskey, but most importantly, they’re both horrendous but entertaining dancers. The problem came the next morning when I forgot his name! It really pissed me off that I couldn’t remember one person’s name from the night before, and it made me pause — what else am I forgetting? How am I supposed to build authentic relationships with people over six months, two years, the rest of my life? There needed to be a better way to focus on building the actual connection, and there needed to be a way to use artificial intelligence and voice technology to do so–our answer–develop Riley.  Once you’ve used Riley you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

What Does an Authentic Relationship Look Like?

  • Remembering the personal anecdotes/soft touches of those around you. Details like:
    • Kids’ names, where they go to school, and what they do for fun
    • Important dates
    • Things you spoke about
    • Places they’ve traveled, things that interest them
    • What they do for fun: What sports do they like, who they cheer for, what do they read, eat, drink, etc

What Does a Professional Authentic Relationship Look Like?

  • Paying attention to the customers’ needs and interests
  • Recognizing what they need, understanding & executing
  • Updating your CRM for their sales timelines, volumes, etc
  • Sending notes to always be top-of-mind

A look back on the past 6 months

We are incredibly proud of the diverse, generous, and values-driven investors who have backed our mission to enable people to create better relationships. But we are even more proud of how our team has come together in challenging times. From daily stand-up meetings to weekly virtual game days and cocktail hours–we adapted to how when our team could come together. Monthly we each even take turns teaching a masterclass to the team, sharing our passions or crafts. We’ve gotten very creative in our virtual bonding and we’re excited to get back to our ‘new normal’ if not back to normal.

What’s Next for Riley?

We have a really exciting few months ahead of us! Besides opening our waitlist, we plan on onboarding our first pilot companies, and empowering anyone who wants to relate better to their customers, their prospects, and their friends, significantly better. We are building integrations into all your favorite platforms to make sure whatever your current workflow is, that we enhance it. 

We are also hiring! If you want to be a part of the next phase of Riley checkout the positions we’re hiring (link).

Our Beta app is available to test out at the Apple Store: Try it now!