Copilot, a platform aimed at helping companies, including marketing agencies, accounting firms and law firms, run and grow their businesses, today announced that it raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by YC Continuity and Lachy Groom at a $100 million post-money valuation. Co-founder and CEO Marlon Misra said that the funds will be put toward expanding Copilot's team, particularly on the engineering and product organization side, to build a "Shopify-like" app store specifically for services business.
"While in the first two years we focused on building a great core product, future years will center around building out our platform," Misra told TechCrunch in an email interview, noting that Copilot has raised $13 million in capital to date. "Thousands of tech-enabled services businesses including marketing agencies, financial services companies, consulting firms, law firms and various types of startups run on Copilot."
Misra co-founded Copilot with Neil Raina in early 2020. Prior to starting the company, the pair went through Y Combinator and worked on multiple other startup ideas, including Piccolo, where they developed a gesture-based home "vision assistant."
"As a result of several company-building experiences, our team became the clients of dozens of service businesses -- marketing agencies, accounting firms, immigration firms, recruiting agencies and others," Misra explained. "Those experiences helped us identify a critical problem that almost all service businesses have. Specifically, service businesses struggle to provide clients with a streamlined user experience because they generally don’t have the technical expertise to build their own client-facing product."
Using Copilot for invoice payments. Image Credits: Copilot
With Copilot, businesses can set up a client portal, enabling clients to send messages, make payments, sign contracts and access custom apps. Companies get a choice between using Copilot's in-house apps or integrating with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product they're already paying for.
This gets around the problem many companies face, Misra asserted, when they attempt to use a mix of software-as-a-service tools that don’t seamlessly work together -- fragmenting the client user experience. "Clients generally have no way of managing their account and no way of easily accessing important information," he added. "Instead, clients receive email notifications from the various SaaS tools that the services business uses … We found that when companies switch to Copilot and 'productize' their business, they see higher customer satisfaction, improved retention, new growth channels and more efficiency."
Misra perceives Copilot competing with a number of vendors in range of different -- but somewhat related -- industries. For example, he considers Bill.com and Freshbooks rivals (in the payments space) but also Box and Dropbox (in file-sharing), DocuSign and HelloSign (in contracts), JotForm and Typeform (in forms) and Intercom and Zendesk (in help desks).
When asked whether he anticipates challenges to 15-employee Copilot's business down the line, Misra said that he doesn't, pointing to Copilot's large existing customer base. He declined to answer a question about revenue but volunteered that Copilot has more than four years of runway.
"When the pandemic first started, the most immediate effect was companies closing their physical offices and investing more in their online presence, online customer acquisition and new software. Many companies tried to reinvent themselves as online-first businesses, which is why there’s now this big trend toward building these online, modern, customer-centric and highly automated businesses," Misra said. "The economic slowdown in the economy that succeeded the pandemic exacerbated the need to be efficient. And here, we saw companies once again looking for more ways to automate and find more ways to consolidate their software stack. That's benefitting us."