CoPilot AI is a MarTech SaaS company that focuses on prospecting and lead generation. The CoPilot AI platform automatically targets qualified people on social media, initiates one-to-one conversations and then surfaces timely sales opportunities without requiring any cold calling, events, or expensive advertising. Powered by AI, the CoPilot AI smart inbox alerts professionals when an interested lead wants to talk, and then its AI-driven follow-up messages ensure that no lead gets missed. It streamlines the manual, difficult task of sales outreach and sales pipeline management to grow a business at scale.
The CoPilot AI platform was created to replicate manual, human prospecting efforts with the same level of personalization and results as someone doing the work on their own. Before CoPilot AI, sending engaging messages was very time consuming, and it wasn’t humanly possible to connect with and reach out to as many qualified professionals manually. CoPilot AI was the first of it’s kind as there wasn’t a product on the market that would act in the same way, get the same results and cut down the time someone had to spend doing it.
Originally launched as Cassia Research Inc. in 2016, CoPilot AI started as a business that built a SaaS portfolio modeling and reporting tool for financial advisors. CoPilot AI Co-Founder and CEO, Henry Bee, had worked as a Series 65-licensed portfolio manager and saw a gap in the market. He partnered with Jesse Chen, who would later become CoFounder of CoPilot AI, to create a software that would close this gap.
However, while working on their software as Cassia Research, Henry and Jesse realized they were trying to solve the wrong problem for financial advisors. The real challenge faced by advisors was that they were struggling to meet sales goals due to a lack of leads in their pipeline.
Once realized, the company pivoted for the first time and created a quiz and free risk assessment tool that went on the financial advisor’s website and would drum up interest for the advisor. While this was up and running, the Cassia Research team continued to look for alternative ways for their customers to generate leads, such as email campaigns. They then experimented with social media networks, testing their idea with an advisor that resulted in five leads booked for that advisor in two weeks. After two more weeks, an additional ten leads were generated. That’s when the initial idea of the CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard was created.
While exciting, pivoting from one business to another was extremely challenging for the company. At that time, the company was renting space at an entrepreneurial incubator called Launch Academy in Gastown (an area in Vancouver). Little did Jesse and Henry know that Launch Academy would end up being a literal launch pad for CoPilot AI because it introduced them to the owners of Victory Square Technologies — an eventual investor in CoPilot AI.
In the beginning, Victory Square Technologies acted as somewhat of a mentor, regularly meeting with the CoPilot AI team to discuss the local tech community and offer advice. The relationship resulted in Victory Square Technologies making an initial one million dollar seed investment in the company. With this funding, the team had a renewed sense of purpose and worked tirelessly to develop the CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard and bring it to market.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2018; CoPilot AI began aggressively acquiring financial advisor customers. With the help of a remote sales team, CoPilot AI 10x’d its revenue from $4,000 monthly recurring revenue (MRR) to $40,000. This was a huge boost to the team to finally have validation that the CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard was compelling and addressed a need in the industry.
However, despite the initial success, new challenges arose. And as with many startup stories, there were still many obstacles to overcome. The product was still quite unstable at this point, and the speed of growth accentuated that instability which caused the company to falter in the area of addressing customer problems, questions, and concerns simultaneously. It was then that the tough decision was made to focus entirely on making the product better, instead of focusing on sales and committing to similar levels of growth. The team focused heavily on product, engineering, and better processes within the customer success team to release a new and improved CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard.
By the summer of 2018, CoPilot AI was confident they could ramp up customer growth again… the only problem was there was very little budget to allocate towards marketing professionals or tactics. That’s when the team had a light-bulb moment and had the idea to use their own product, CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard, to generate leads. This ended up being a game-changer as leads were consistently and steadily coming through for their own business, which in turn led the team to discover that this product could serve way more than just financial advisors.
The team has relied heavily on the CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard to generate new business and close sales (and still do today!). This has been huge in keeping the cost-per-lead and customer acquisition cost down while rapidly growing the business at scale. CoPilot AI tripled it’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2019. And continuing that growth, CoPilot AI has almost tripled it’s ARR again in the first nine months of 2020.
Not only has using the CoPilot AI Prospecting Dashboard helped grow the company, it’s also given the team a unique perspective; they see firsthand what their customers see, feel what their customers feel, and generate leads like their customers generate leads. It has allowed the team to scale into other industries and opportunities, as well as provided validation to explore and diversify their customer base. This has been instrumental in building a strategic roadmap because the team builds for its customers, but also for themselves.
Today, CoPilot AI is in an extremely exciting position as a high-growth tech startup. They now have 31 employees and growing, and just moved into a brand new, beautifully renovated office space. And despite recent economic challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, business has continued to grow for CoPilot AI through their digital and social prospecting tools. The company was also just named in Canada’s 500 fastest-growing companies in Maclean’s and Canadian Business, so the team looks forward to celebrating that and what’s to come next!