Ex-HubSpot exec builds an AI-powered CRM that learns for you, with $4M seed led by Sequoia

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Christopher O’Donnell has hobbies. He likes music and playing guitar, but above all, he loves building software. Which is why three years after leaving HubSpot, he built Day.ai, a CRM for the age of AI.

Unlike modern CRMs, which are essentially giant spreadsheets that somebody needs to populate and keep updated, Day learns everything about a person from conversations they had with the company, emails and public records such as LinkedIn.

O’Donnell knows CRMs. He was responsible for creating one of the most popular ones out there, HubSpot’s.  

O’Donnell spent more than 10 years at HubSpot, initially turbocharging the company’s marketing automation solution, and was later tapped by the founder and former CEO Brian Halligan to build HubSpot’s customer relationship management tool. That CRM later became the product HubSpot is best known for, which eventually helped earn O’Donnell the title of chief product officer.

While O’Donnell enjoyed being an executive at HubSpot, which now has a market capitalization of nearly $30 billion, he missed building new software. So in 2021, he left HubSpot to work on Arianna Huffington’s Thrive. He was also simultaneously involved with ProfitWell, a bootstrapped business he co-founded that sold to Paddle for $200 million in 2022. O’Donnell didn’t see himself at Thrive long-term, so it came to a point when he asked himself, “Should I retire?” he said. “I wasn’t really sure what to do.”

And then OpenAI launched ChatGPT. The new technology inspired him to start something new and do the one thing he really loves: building software.

He came back together with Michael Pici, previously a VP of sales and product at HubSpot. “Mike is brilliant,” O’Donnell said, “There are not a ton of people who can hang out with engineers and designers all day and then turn around and run an entire sales organization.”

The duo felt that advances in generative AI offered a perfect opportunity to build a product they had both always “dreamed of.”

In mid-2023, they began working on Day.ai, a CRM powered by generative AI.

“Day builds all of this information behind the scenes, and all you have to do is just ask it a question, and it comes back with the answers,” O’Donnell said. That means that Day’s CRM learns everything it needs to about people automatically behind the scenes.  

So, there is no more updating and manual data entry to keep the information current.

On Thursday the company is announcing a $4 million seed round led by Sequoia.

For now, Day’s CRM is available through an invite-only beta version, but O’Donnell and Pici have a lofty long-term goal of making current versions of CRMs irrelevant.

But don’t expect Day to raise more capital anytime soon. The Sequoia-led round is, for now, all the funding the company needs.

“It’s four of us on the team. I pay myself minimum wage,” O’Donnell said. “We are happy as clams. It’s about the fun of starting over.”

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