Clay debuts a new tool to help people better manage their business and personal relationships – TechCrunch

Clay is a startup that has raised $8 million seed funding. It offers a way to be more thoughtful and intentional with people in your life. The system functions in a similar fashion to a personal CRM. Clay allows you to connect your email and calendar with social media apps like Twitter and LinkedIn, and build a list of people you meet. Clay populates each person's entry with all relevant information that you might need for future meetings. This includes their work history, latest tweets, and details about how you met.
You can also add notes to each entry and click to activate reminders for following up with certain people. You can also use the app's command bar, keyboard shortcuts, and home screen widgets.

The final product is not an address book, but it's also not as sales- and pipeline-focused than a CRM system.

Clays founders refer to the app as a "home for your people", as it tries to create a market space for a more personal way to track who you know and what they are doing.

Clays co-founders Zachary Hamed and Zachary Achariam, co-CEOs of Clays, came up with the idea for the startup. They met in their early days working with startups. Before founding Clay, Achariam was the lead product manager at Custora Analytics, a Y Combinator-backed analytics firm. Hamed managed the product management team at Marquee, a Goldman Sachs website platform.

People and relationships are so important in our career paths. Hamed describes the reasons for Clay's creation and explains why they wanted to explore that.

Clay is available as a web-, desktop, and mobile app. First connect your accounts to get started. Clay currently supports Microsoft Outlook/Office 365 and Google Calendar. Zapier integrations allow you to add additional services. Clay will automatically set up and track your meetings, personal connections, as well as augmenting people's entries with additional details from the internet, such their work history and most recent tweets.

People's entries can also include details about how they met the person, something that people often forget. They may be listed as a LinkedIn connection, someone you met in person, or an online acquaintance.

Clays desktop app allows you to optionally connect Clay and iMessage. This allows Clay to add phone numbers, details about your last communication, and more. This feature should be used with caution. Clay does not import your messages content, but the company claims that it must work around the absence of an official SDK or API to do this integration. This means that the feature needs full disk access to function. This is a higher security permission that some may not be comfortable with.

Clay founders claim that Clay was built to protect and secure people's privacy. Clay's privacy policy can be read by humans. Each integration is described in terms of how data is used, what is pulled, and what is not. Clay currently encrypts data on Clays servers, and in transit. However, the goal of the funding round is to make Clay fully local on the users' devices.

It should work on all your machines. Hamed says that we don't want to store any data. This is a technically difficult task and was impossible for Matt and me to accomplish when we started building Clay. Now that we have the resources, this is our ultimate goal.

Clay might have trouble convincing users that it is safe due to the many instances where people were scammed by smart address books that misused their private data. Sunshine Contacts, a startup in this area, was discovered to have distributed people's home addresses even though they had not signed up for it. Other previous efforts were also unsuccessful because they violated user privacy concerns to generate revenue.

Achariam believes that the problem with these products was the business model that they used.

This was something we thought about when we first entered the space. We wanted something similar to this, and all the products we saw either rubbed us wrongly or exploded due to these reasons, Achariam of smart address markets history notes. Many of these things began with the user being the product. Then you didn't have to pay for it. He says that there was no sustainable business model, and they had to make trade-offs.

Clay is different. Clay is starting from the beginning with a pricing plan that will allow for self-sufficiency. It costs $20 per month at the moment, but that will be reduced over time. The goal is to offer a free plan. It also offers cheaper access to some groups (e.g. students or nonprofits) if you email.

Clay was adopted by many different users during testing. These included teachers who wanted Clay to be able to recall students and their parents, a candidate for Congress who wanted Clay to track their constituents, and a veterinarian who wanted Clay to remember their customers and pets.

It was intentionally cross-industry and cross-disciplinary. This was not a tech or investor problem. Hamed notes that we went further.

From 2019 to 2020, the startup raised $8 million in seed capital. General Catalyst participated in the funding.

Shannon Brayton, ex-CMO of LinkedIn, Kevin Hartz, ex-CEO of Eventbrite, Kelvin Beachum, NFL player, philanthropist, investor, and Lindsay Kaplan are angel investors. Adam Evans, ex-CTO of RelateIQ, Charlie Songhurst, and Sam Lessin were former heads of corporate strategy at Microsoft. Jonah Goodhart was the former CEO and SVP at Oracle. Chapter One Ventures, Jeff Morris Jr. and others.

People are realizing what was already true after COVID. Online interaction and messaging apps are making it easier to build digital relationships. How is it possible to be connected and yet lonely all the time? Brian OMalley, Forerunner GP, spoke out about his investment. Existing social products don't serve you as an end user. You are a pawn of some other customer like a recruiter, or an unknown advertiser. Clay is the first company to develop relationship software that can help you understand the signals driving your connections and help you build better ones with a wider range of people. Clay believes that your network is yours and you should have the power to manage it.

Clay is currently open for sign-ups via its website.