Apoorv Agarwal & Omar Haroun
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
2020 was an exciting and productive year for Text IQ. Despite the challenging global environment, we made major strides in the continued growth of the company. We more than doubled our recurring revenue and retained 100% of customers, in spite of a record-low number of in-person meetings. We made a number of key leadership hires and added exceptional team members in all departments. We successfully launched our Data Breach product and significantly enhanced products already in the market. We transformed our annual in-person conference, The Inevitable, into a virtual event series featuring Fortune 500 executives, industry thought leaders and top AI researchers.
Any of these alone would be impressive, but accomplishing all amidst a global pandemic is a testament to the strength of our team, the untapped need in the market, the success of our products, and the commitment of our customers.
So, while we are always focused on the future, we want to take this opportunity to share in more detail our major accomplishments of 2020.
The transition to virtual customer meetings worked
We are building a platform that is changing behavior by using AI to automate what has always been done by large teams of humans. Changing behavior requires building trust. From the time we started the company, we built this trust by traveling to our customers and meeting them in person. We also organized many in-person events so our customers could meet our broader team and, importantly, other customers who had utilized Text IQ with great success. When the pandemic hit, we were concerned that our business would suffer due to our inability to travel to meet with our customers and build those relationships.
But our fears were unfounded. Despite not being able to meet new customers face-to-face, we grew our recurring revenue by more than 2x in 2020 and retained 100% of our subscription customers. Our ability to deploy our software in a highly secure cloud environment combined with immediate ROI, where subscriptions often pay for themselves within the first quarter of deployment, made it easy for our customers to invest in Text IQ solutions and expand their usage. To help build trust and communicate our value in a virtual environment, we significantly enhanced our website, adding case studies, webinars and videos that provided the benefits and proof points from existing customers that were so valuable to our prospects at our live events.
Our multi-year subscription model benefited the business
In 2019 we proved the value of our technology such that businesses began buying Text IQ on a subscription-basis. In a little over a year, over 83% of our revenue is now from predictable customer contracts. Moreover, 97% of our subscription revenue includes multi-year commitments. These impressive metrics, combined with our 100% customer retention rate, speaks to the lasting value of our products and the need in the market for AI-powered automation that not only frees humans for more value-added work but also delivers higher precision.
Beyond greater predictability, our subscription model aligns our interests and incentives more closely with our customers’ business goals. Before, our customers might limit the amount of data that our AI would analyze, since they were paying based on data volumes for each project. This further limited the use of Text IQ to the initial application, since additional applications would cost more money. But our multi-year subscription model now allows our customers to benefit more than ever from Text IQ by giving greater flexibility on both the volume of data analyzed and the adoption of new capabilities. This benefits our customers, since with our unsupervised machine learning approach, the more data in the brain results in more accurate and precise output from it. In 2021, we’re very excited to achieve a mutual vision with our customers of managing risk across unstructured data, for which our subscription model has been a catalyst.
We grew in the Global 2000 and in our public sector business
We are proud that our technology has been adopted by 50% of the top life sciences companies and 40% of the top banks in the Global 2000. We also grew our government business, landing a subscription contract with a major U.S. federal agency that is creating a Text IQ lab for analyzing sensitive data. Our offices in Canada and Ireland continue to grow as well, positioning us for continued international expansion in 2021.
More law firms have joined us as partners
Our enterprise traction has not gone unnoticed. Law firms have seen the value of AI in their practices and have adapted their business models to partner with Text IQ to provide better service and results to our mutual customers. As just one example, Cravath, the most prestigious law firm in the world, earned the New York Law Journal Innovation Award in 2020 for their adoption of Text IQ’s AI software for privilege review.
We also partnered with Sheppard Mullin and were honored to co-present with them at The Sedona Conference this past fall. We presented our work on AI Privilege Logs, a new offering that utilizes a neural machine generation system to produce narrative privilege log descriptions. The resulting output is very close to that produced by teams of contract attorneys, but at a cost savings of $100k to $1m, depending on the size of the unstructured dataset.
To enhance our privacy offering, we partnered with Seyfarth Shaw, who tested Text IQ against first pass human reviewers and saw the AI succeed on all counts; achieving a recall rate of 98%, eliminating 93% of documents requiring human review, and resulting in a savings of 1,000 people-hours and $80k.
As a result of our law firm outreach and demonstrated product value, we enjoyed business coming from our law firm partners, who are often the first to be contacted when one of our customers has a security incident, government investigation, merger, or simply needs legal advice on how to better manage sensitive information. Our strong partnership with law firms also help us serve our customers better, as their trusted legal partners gain additional familiarity with our software.
PRODUCT AND SOLUTION DEVELOPMENT
Successful AI solutions were just the beginning
Our product vision continues to be an AI platform that addresses the unstructured data crisis facing large enterprises today. It is a challenge as a startup to both invest in building that platform vision while delivering specific solutions that provide our customers a 10x advantage over their human-centric processes today. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made on specific solutions, including launching our Data Breach solution, which is quickly becoming a market-leading product, our PII detectors, which now outperform Google and Microsoft’s APIs, and our legal review product, which continues to lead the industry in automating privilege review.
But, we’re even prouder of our evolution from a set of AI applications to a platform for unstructured data. We were particularly proud of the invitation Apoorv got to speak to this topic at CIOSE, an exclusive group of executives in charge of technology and digital initiatives at global, forward-looking enterprises. Apoorv presented on the enterprise risk in unstructured data. His presentation focused on Text IQ’s ability to provide immediate ROI and continuous automation through the use of an unstructured data analysis platform. This platform, which we call the AI Brain, understands the context and meanings behind words on a page with the use of our unique socio-linguistic hypergraph and patented AI algorithms.
By using a continuous feedback loop, the AI Brain continues to learn, building social networks and hierarchies as it goes, to achieve greater precision and efficiency with each use. This makes it ideal for proactive implementation across the enterprise, especially in the privacy, security, legal, risk, and compliance fields.
We trained and enabled partners to scale our software
We deployed our newly launched self-service data breach software at several partners, including one AmLaw 100 firm who successfully had hundreds of reviewers using the software on a series of time-sensitive data breach cases. The combination of their expertise and our AI software allows them to achieve greater efficiencies for our enterprise customers.
We announced a partnership with ProSearch, our first service provider to be fully trained and certified on using Text IQ in the legal market. Their expertise, services, and implementation capabilities partnered with our innovative technology for privilege review, second request response, and data breach assessment enable our mutual Fortune 500 customers to achieve greater efficiencies while reducing their exposure to risk.
Finally, we continued to build on the value of our technology partnerships and integrations, including with Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Nuix, and Relativity. These partnerships allow us to quickly scale our infrastructure, integrate with a wider range of enterprise data stores, and deliver user interaction and results through the interfaces with which our customers work every day.
CONTINUED DELIVERY OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
The Inevitable event was built to bring together industry leaders and practitioners with top AI minds in academia. Given the massive success of The Inevitable conference in 2019, we were eager to continue to build the communities that understand the value of our offering. Therefore, post-COVID, The Inevitable conference transformed into a weekly webinar series featuring a mix of corporate practitioners, service providers, lawyers, academics and other experts.
Last year, we were overwhelmed with the positive response and the following that these weekly webinars have generated. In 2021, we will continue to nurture these communities by providing relevant thought leadership and discussion forums for a rapidly changing environment. To stay up to date with our continued thought leadership, I recommend following us on LinkedIn where we are building a community of like-minded executives and AI experts.
Growing our teamIt's not just the market who is taking note of our hypergrowth. We had an incredibly successful year in recruiting over 35 new Text IQ team members in 2020, including top quality talent from Kustomer (acquired by Facebook for $1B), Splunk (IPO) and recently-anointed unicorns including Dataiku, HighRadius, and BigID.
A major focus from our Series A funding was investing in engineering leadership and our go-to-market team. Let us highlight a few notable additions:
Greg Kowalski, VP of Engineering - A seasoned technical leader with over 17 years of industry experience in SaaS. Greg has earned two degrees from the University of Western Ontario, one in Electrical Engineering and the second in Computer Science, while serving as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Armed Forces. Additionally, he has a master's degree in Computer Science from Simon Fraser University. Prior to joining Text IQ, Greg was VP of Engineering at Alida (formerly Vision Critical), where he developed deep product expertise and led a cross-functional team of 60+ engineers.
Carl Landers, VP of Marketing - A Silicon Valley native and Stanford engineering graduate, Carl has built a career on bringing B2B products to market, creating demand with compelling storytelling and driving sales success. Carl has consistently built high-performance marketing teams that deliver high-quality content, campaigns, creative and communications. Carl developed a passion for AI after spending four years building the AI business at Conversica, a B2B leader in Intelligent Virtual Assistants.
Ashley Sullivan, Director of Professional Services - Ashley has over 12 years of experience in client-centric operations, customer success, and professional services. Prior to joining Text IQ, Ashley was Senior Director of Client Services Operations at KLDiscovery, where she helped scale a global project management team of over 100 employees by driving service delivery standards and communication best practices.
Rocco Sannelli, Director of Demand Gen - Rocco is a B2B marketing and demand generation leader. After cutting his teeth at branding powerhouse P&G, Rocco has led marketing departments at a series of VC-backed startups, including Dataiku, a recently anointed unicorn in the B2B Artificial Intelligence space. Rocco brings over a decade of demand generation and product marketing experience to Text IQ.
Steve Coplan, Director of Product Marketing -Steve has a deep breadth of knowledge and experience with B2B product marketing. Steve’s experience spans industry analysis, corporate strategy and product marketing for emerging technologies. He most recently built and lead the product marketing function at BigID, a B2B enterprise data privacy unicorn.
As a result of the new work-from-anywhere environment in which we all find ourselves, we were able to expand our hiring radius and tap into a larger pool of talent. New hires have been onboarded in Boston, Chicago, Ontario, Montana, Ohio, and Virginia.
BUILDING A HIGH-PERFORMANCE CULTURE
Operationalizing our core values
Our five core values are the backbone of how we work together and work with all of our customers and partners. In 2020, we continued to strengthen how we speak to our values, onboard new employees to their important meaning and embed them in our ongoing operations. As just one example, we enhanced our performance reviews to include evaluation on contribution to our core values, in addition to accomplishments and contribution to our company KPIs.
Coming together as a team, virtually
With all of the new talent that joined our ranks in 2020, we really wished we could have held an in-person team building event again this year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards. Fortunately, we have an awesome People Ops team who skillfully crafted an engaging, two-day retreat powered by Zoom. The retreat gave us an opportunity to step away from our day-to-day work to reconnect with coworkers, learn from investors, advisors and founders, and reinforce the meaning and importance of our core values.
At our virtual event, we welcomed guest appearances from investors Tim Guleri, Managing Director at Sierra Ventures, Matt Turck, Partner at FirstMark Capital, and Nick Washburn, Senior Managing Director and COO at Intel Capital, advisors Dan Cooperman, former General Counsel of Apple and Oracle, Marla Persky, former SVP and General Counsel of Boehringer Ingelheim, and Peter Lefkowitz, Chief Privacy and Digital Risk Officer at Citrix Systems, motivational speakers Robyn Benincasa and Maurice Ducoing on diversity, and a magician.
During her invigorating presentation, Robyn Benincasa, a World Champion Adventure Racer herself, likened Text IQers to adventure racers for the way we use our core strengths and talents to, “not just find a way to tilt the game in our customers’ favor, but to change the game and how it’s played completely.” She challenged our team to find our “Steve Gurney Missile,” to “do what it takes to win versus simply not lose.”
In addition to learning virtual card tricks, we learned about our evolving vision for the company, the accomplishments of the year, and the goals and plans for an exciting 2021. We also gained a better understanding of what Text IQers on different teams have been working on through demos, a department swap, and Text IQ Jeopardy.
LOOKING AHEAD TO MORE IN 2021
What a year! 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but we are energized and inspired by the incredible team at the company, by the amazing customers who have put their faith in our technology, and by the thoughtful support of our advisors and investors who dedicate so much time and energy to helping us succeed.
Thank you again for your continued support of Text IQ in 2020…and here’s to a great 2021!
Apoorv & Omar