When companies have to pick what kinds of services they want for their operation — like marketing or human resources — they can easily be paralyzed by choice.
That’s why Vamshi Mokshagundam and Ayan Barua decided to start Siftery, a database of sorts where companies list their software stacks. The company just raised $4 million from Felicis Ventures, Founders Fund, and Venrock among others.
The hope is that as more companies share what services they use, Siftery will be able to recommend the best service they should use for a particular scenario. Siftery compares companies with similar stacks and looks for differences to make some recommendations. For instance, if two companies are using the same four services, but a second one is using a different one for marketing, Siftery may recommend that to the first company.
“There’s 30 different marketing solutions out there, you have to figure out what one or two products work, the graph does that for you,” Mokshagundam said. “Airbnb using this cool customer engagement product that people might not know about. This is a product you want to discover, you want to say hey this looks cool, I want to use it. Active selection is one point. But there’s this passive discovery part where the graph can surface interesting products you don’t know about.”
Siftery came about after Mokshagundam’s previous company had its own issues figuring out what services to use. The company had 15 people, but it employed more than 60 services, he said. That can not only get out of hand, but easily become very expensive — especially when companies don’t know that they can get discounts or are using services they don’t even need.
Traditionally, in order to determine what services other companies are using, individuals or companies would basically have to ask around, Mokshagundam said. Siftery, here, also has an advantage because it can upfront negotiate for discounts on services — which they already often offer — that it can then serve back to its members. That, too, helps offer Siftery a pathway to revenue, Mokshagundam said.
“Siftery lets you as a buyer understand what the average discount of what your company is, and then you can ask for it,” Mokshagundam said. “A lot of businesses don’t. There used to be consultants that just did this, they would just help companies negotiate a price, and we can aggregate that information as well.”
Larger companies, too, are giving Siftery a try to figure out what their own employees are using, Mokshagundam said. Executives can use it to get a look into which teams are using them, which can be useful as companies begin to sprawl out and the individual employees start signing up to services on their own to get their tasks done.
Siftery may eventually be competing with larger firms that will keep track of what services companies are using. Mokshagundam said he might see Siftery competing with firms like Gartner and Forrester in the future.
“People go to Google to search for products, they get dumb lists, that is the biggest competitor, but some of the bigger companies have been using us now,” he said. “They don’t have a nice resource where they can figure out what to use. You’re using so many tools and building a habit out of these and using them, they’re all good at what they do, and small businesses don’t like big platforms that do everything but don’t do everything well.”