- Vinay Patankar has built a product that he calls a “superpowered checklist” that helps remote teams work more efficiently and automate processes.
- The company just got a vote of confidence earlier this week with a $12 million Series A investment from Accel, Salesforce Ventures and Atlassian.
- The tool takes the idea of a checklist, and turns it into software that can automate work processes and connect to other tools that employees use.
- Rich Wong, the partner at Accel that led the investment, said the trend of working remotely is going to increase — and tools that help enable that have a big market opportunity.
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Vinay Patankar wanted to build something that enables the future of work — a future he envisions will require increased remote work and the need to automate and simplify tasks with no-code tools. The Australian native and entrepreneur started his career working at an investment bank in Australia and then started a few different companies, including an all-remote marketing agency.
It was then that he saw the need for a software tool to help teams working remotely to coordinate in an easy and efficient way. His solution: build a super powered checklist. That’s an oversimplified description of what Patankar’s latest startup called Process Street does, but he said his goal is to help companies be more efficient after having seen the challenges that come with remote work first hand.
The company won a vote of confidence last week in the form of a $12 million Series A round of funding led by Accel, with Salesforce Ventures and Atlassian participating.
Building the tool
Patankar first had the idea for this company when he was running a marketing company he started with a completely remote team. He didn’t find any tool that could do what he wanted.
“We needed a kind of workflow engine to track and manage that kind of high-frequency distributive process. So I was messing around with email and spreadsheets and project management systems, and they weren’t doing what we needed. We needed something that kept everyone on their tracks, gave us proper visibility, and then automated a lot of the work that we were doing manually,” Patankar said.
He decided to build the product internally, and on a whim moved to Argentina for a few months, which he could do while still running the marketing company, given the remote nature of the team. It was there that he met Cameron McKay, who would become his cofounder at Process Street.
McKay and Patankar were staying in the same hostel and started chatting. Patankar was already on the search for an engineer to be his Process Street cofounder — and eventually convinced McKay to join him and move to Argentina while they built the product.
They spent nine months building the tool and then applied to startup accelerator AngelPad in New York. From there, they built an all-remote team to continue developing the business. Patankar said he thinks he was able to convince McKay to join him because he was able to envision using the actual product.
The tool takes the idea of a checklist, and turns it into something that can automate work processes. It can also be integrated into other tools that employees use in the workplace — that’s where the no-code element comes in.
In addition to the product itself, the company is building a library where customers can find templates for commonly used work processes that they can use and adapt to their own needs.
A vote of confidence
The idea was novel enough to catch the attention of Salesforce and Atlassian, both companies that make widely used cloud software tools. Patankar and his team presented at a startup pitch competition in Europe last year, and one of the judges happened to be Alex Kayyal, the head of Salesforce Venture’s Europe arm.
Salesforce Ventures made the introduction to Atlassian, who is starting up its own venture arm.
Patankar said he chose Salesforce and Atlassian as investors because of their influence and wide reach. “We chose them as strategic investors because a big part of our core value offering is we build workflows across the SaaS stack…and obviously Salesforce and Atlassian have two of the biggest SaaS products and we do a lot of integrations with them,” he said.
Rich Wong, the partner at Accel who led this investment, said he was intrigued by the product because it has the potential to be a very big idea — and he doesn’t see a direct competitor out there right now that can do exactly what Process Street does.
“I guess arguably you could use a Google Sheet as a way of keeping track of a list of things and sort of ticking down it…but to actually make it a collaborative process as opposed to just being sort of a flat document — that had never been done before for a lot of these processes,” Wong said.
He compared it to what DocuSign did for signing contracts, a company in which Accel also has invested. Wong also thinks that the trend of remote work will continue to grow and tools that enable that will have a big market opportunity. The fact that Process Street’s team itself is all-remote gives them a unique perspective, he adds.
Some of Process Street’s customers are AirBnb, Spotify, Accenture, and Salesforce. The company has a freemium model for its product where customers can use a limited version of the product for free before upgrading to a paid version with more features, like Dropbox and Slack.
Patankar said his team plans to use the new funding to develop the product, launching a mobile app, developing more integrations with other workplace tools, and make the product usable for larger and larger teams.
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