This NYC startup solves huge tech problems through a Slack bot

December 12, 2016

When it comes to IT support, companies traditionally have two options — manage an in-house IT team or outsource it. While the technology behind modern businesses has become more complex, so has the need for a faster and more efficient IT system.

Enter Electric.

Electric is an automated, intelligent IT support channel for small and mid-sized companies. The platform utilizes a chat interface on the front-end through Slack, and an AI-powered system on the back end to solve companies’ IT problems in real-time, at a lower cost than traditional IT service providers. Electric costs companies $30 per month, per employee.

“We realized that the way businesses operate — the computers they use, the software and apps they use — is completely changing, but the existing IT services industry hasn't changed at all,” said founder and CEO Ryan Denehy. “There are 180,000 IT companies in the U.S. who are still clinging on to a business model that predates cloud computing.”

Denehy, a serial entrepreneur who sold his two previous startups to USA TODAY Sports and Groupon, respectively, decided to create a modern IT solution after observing the problem firsthand.

“We had large networks of local, independent partners reselling and supporting our platforms to end users and it was always the same story: 10 percent of those partners did great work, 90 percent added no value or were a major cause of complaints from our customers,” said Denehy. “And the complaints ranged from scary to laughable — two days to respond to an emergency support ticket, $2,200 to fix a Wi-Fi outage.”

It was clear to Denehy that individual software vendors could no longer support cloud applications with an all-in-one solution, and a new model was needed to meet the demands of modern IT services.

“As businesses of all categories are spending more money on cloud-based applications, the existing IT services channel is wildly ill-equipped to do that for where markets are headed,” said Denehy. “These companies can’t get the help they need to get core tech platforms running the way they want, which I saw firsthand building my last company. We’re at the front end of the biggest paradigm shift in computing since the dawn of the internet.”

This month, the company officially launched out of stealth with 22 inaugural customers, including corporate travel startup Rocketrip and sales recruitment firm Betts Recruiting. The company has also raised $2 million in seed funding, led by Bowery Capital and Primary Venture Partners. Heading into 2017, the company is currently focused on building a solid culture where revenue and engineering move in lock-step.

“The market opportunity is much bigger than just $180 billion outsourced IT services market,” said Denehy. “As our product begins to mature we become more than just a business-critical solution, we also find ourselves in the unique position of understanding better than anyone how businesses interact with their software and having significant insight and influence over future business software purchasing decisions.”

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