Capacity raised $13.2 million from Midwest investors. The company has a strong pedigree with the co-founders each having successful ventures, including a large exit. However, the firm went about this differently. They had their 50+ employees help in the fundraising efforts by arming each employee with the pitch and presentation. This is an unusual strategy by an unusual team.
David Karandish started Answers.com. This company eventually sold for more than $900 million. In doing research for this article, SPN looked at multiple interviews with Karandish. We would particularly suggest that you view the link to Authority Magazine’s article with Karandish last fall (https://medium.com/authority-magazine/jane-ai-ceo-david-karandish-i-dont-believe-in-a-big-line-between-sacred-and-secular-work-92e5fdb1826f).
His new company is built with a similar heritage to Answers.com. The company, formerly known as Jane.ai, seeks to use artificial intelligence and other computer-based tools to arm employees at the workplace with the same form of intelligence as Siri or Alexa. The founders have stated that the Capacity tools should help workplaces become more efficient by creating a mechanism for people to communicate more effectively in teams.
Last week, the company announced that it had raised more than $13 million from Midwest capital sources – including numerous local funders that were attracted by employee pitches. The company currently employs more than fifty people, but in multiple interviews, the founders pointed to the fundraise as a mechanism for them to continue to hire, particularly in St. Louis.
As part of the raise, the company re-branded to Capacity. In an interview with Pulse 2.0, Karandish stated, “We couldn’t be more excited to launch our AI-powered knowledge sharing platform under the new Capacity brand. We chose the name Capacity because we firmly believe that the more organizations share and leverage their knowledge, the greater capacity their teams will have to do outstanding work.”
Simple questions such as “where is the sales report?” lie at the center of the Capacity offering. “Today’s workplace systems are not designed for how people actually work. Consumer-grade tools like Netflix and Google have shown us that people prefer a personalized experience— but enterprise software hasn’t kept up,” added Karandish. “We built our new product suite with our fellow consumer in mind, so that Capacity feels less like software you have to use, and more like software you want to use.”
Karandish describes his own discovery of the importance of Capacity in the interview in Authority: “In all seriousness, I used Jane for a simple, trivial information retrieval task. But it just clicked with me that everything in a company should be this easy to access, straightforward and simple. It was then that I knew we were onto something.” This simple problem created one of St. Louis’ best startup stories of 2019.
The company was formed in 2017 by Karandish and co-founder Chris Sims. The two have worked together on a variety of early stage companies and fundings, including through Equity.com. However, the two decided to start a St. Louis based company to offer businesses new tools in artificial intelligence. St. Louis was an important part of this decision.
“St. Louis is a great place to hire. About two-thirds of the team is in product development. And, we are able to pull the best and brightest from the region. I would put our engineers against anyone in Silicon Valley, Boston, or Austin.” David Karandish on KMOX last week.
The company has received money in the past from a variety of investors including Equity.com and Rice Park Capital Management.
For more information about the company, check out their website at www.capacity.com.