Relationships are a complicated thing.
They are common in the business world, whereby the second-degree contact or ideal connection can turn things around in a high-stakes deal.
Motivated by this reason nearly five years ago, Stanford graduates Shubham Goel and Ray Zhou cofounded San Francisco-based startup Affinity by creating what they refer to as a “relationship intelligence” platform.
Contrary to some relationships management products available on the market today, Affinity is completely automatic.
As such, Zhou and Goel claim that it enables the identification of more than three million “warm introductions” in networks and auto-populated across 300 million fields of data with the necessary contact information.
“Affinity is changing the relationship management industry by leveraging data in ways no one thought possible,” Zhou said.
“Our goal is to create a world in which anyone can tap into the full power of their network to start a company, land a dream job, close a huge deal or otherwise find great opportunities for business success. We’re building the technology infrastructure that will make that possible for everyone.”
The Software-as-a-Service offering from Affinity helps in analyzing data points from several sources, including calendars, contacts, email, and third-party services such as Zapier, Clearbit, and Crunchbase in a bid to get the ideal insights businesses can utilize in cultivating and expanding valuable relationships.
Affinity’s natural language processing and machine learning systems not only assist in structuring such data but also independently prioritizing the “most valuable” links, particularly within networks found in a unified dashboard, while identifying opportunities that may have otherwise been undetected.
Essentially, Affinity creates a digital contacts’ Rolodex that is sortable through filters such as last funding date, job title, location, and more – complete with a background of interactions dating ten years behind.
The company’s mobile and web-based applications feature task automation tools that allow users to not only configure activity-triggered reminders but also detect both messages and emails that require attention.
The apps also pack an ingenious feature dubbed Affinity Alliances that allows them to interact with others that are outside of their network or team who may be in a position to “provide the most valuable introductions.”
Currently, Affinity competes with numerous well-financed startups, particularly in the relationship management field, such as Nimble and Womply.
Other competitors include larger companies like Salesforce and Microsoft.
Nevertheless, Affinity has made commendable strides since its inception four years ago.
According to Zhan, the company assists in managing relationships spread out across 20 million people and five million organizations such as AngelList, American Family Insurance, Redpoint, Kairos, Bain Capital Ventures, DCM, JLL, Macerich, Tachyus, Linkedin, New Politics, Innogy, R/GA and among many others.
“Data is extremely valuable when it comes to building and nurturing professional relationships, but collecting, recording and accessing this data has traditionally been a time-consuming, manual process,” IbnAle said.
“Affinity has found a way to harness the incredible amount of relationship data buried in our day-to-day communications and make it useful in a way that both simplifies relationship management and amplifies the value of our professional networks.”