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Peritus Assistant for Slack Brings Help To Developers Where They Work Most

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Guest: Robin Purohit
Company: Peritus.ai
Show: Let’s Talk

Peritus Assistant for Slack has one goal, and that is to help developers master the latest technologies as they work from experts they can trust. The company, Peritus.ai, saw a huge explosion in enterprise developer teams using Slack. The reason for this growth was the rise of remote work and Slack makes it easy to collaborate and connect. What Peritus does is provide remote assistance (from millions of experts in the field), particularly with cloud-native topics, delivered directly to the user’s Slack channels.

Peritus’ philosophy is to go where the developers are working and help them there. The company saw the value in going to, say, Stack Overflow (or another vendor forum) and they realized that the forum could better serve developers if it was delivered directly to the tool they use the most for collaboration – Slack.

The prime target for Peritus Assistant for Slack is enterprise developer teams and distributed developer teams that are working on cloud-native topics. For those use-cases, the company has, according to Robin Purohit, Co-founder, and CEO, Peritus.ai, “prepared and curated a very large dataset of both content and experts that can help them as they work. That can be a small team of a handful of people, growing to a globally distributed team of hundreds or thousands or more.”

One big problem Peritus sees is that when someone has a problem, they check internally, they go to Google and search in different forums for the answer. Going this route takes too long to find an answer from someone that can be trusted. Peritus also discovered that if your question hasn’t been answered on Slack after three hours, you’ll never get an answer, because (according to Purohit) “Slack has a very ephemeral nature to it.”

On the contrary, Peritus Assistant has several thousand people that have installed the tool for Chrome to use on forums. The feedback they received was that they needed more content, so the company is doing just that, rapidly adding solutions, particularly in the cloud data industry, because (as Purohit says) “…that way we can connect all the experts that are best known in the industry, and these topics are very intertwined.”

Peritus Assistant for Slack has a recommendation engine to continuously source the best content, conversations, and experts from everywhere there is a trusted source. That backend engine is used to build multiple applications and the company continues to build on top of that as well.

Peritus recently received new seed funding from First Rays Venture Partners, which has been a seed investor for over a year. This next seed funding will be used to expand the dataset to everything the company can find in the cloud-native industry (as well as working with CNCF on several projects to bring into the system) and (more importantly) go to market. Now that Peritus has a product they know people will like, they believe it’s time to heavily invest in the sales and marketing side.

Although they cannot talk about a roadmap, Purohit did say that their next big focus is something they call community intelligence. To explain that, Purohit says, “Slack is actually used by virtually every open-source company as a primary method to build community and also support. The bigger the company gets, the more likely they will have multiple ways of connecting with their developers. Of course, on GitHub, on Stack Overflow, they start to host their own vendor forums, Reddit, essentially.” Purohit adds, “What we do when somebody is running a community on Slack, we will look at all those conversation histories and make them part of our recommendation engine. Then we’ll provide analytics across all the different community channels they have, so they can drive more effective developer engagement and success.”

The summary of the show is written by Jack Wallen


Here is the rough, unedited transcript of the show…

Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, this is your host Swapnil Bhartiya, and welcome to TFiR Newsroom. Peritus.ai, recommendation engine for developers self-service, is announcing a $3.4 Million seed funding loan and the company is also launching Peritus Assistant for Slack, so developers can get rapid and informative responses to their common questions on a wide range of topics all the way from Cloud Native, to Kubernetes, to Docker, Kafka, MongoDB, and whatnot. To talk about these two announcements we have with us once again, Robin Purohit, Co-founder and CEO of Peritus. Robin, it’s great to have you on the show again.

Robin Purohit: Swapnil, great to see you again.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Yes. There is too much to talk about, but let’s start with the tech announcement, which is this Peritus Assistant for Slack. What is it? Tell me about it.

Robin Purohit: Our mission is to become the developer success companies, where we can help developers master the latest technologies as they work from experts they trust. And what we have seen is a huge explosion in the use of enterprise developer teams and slack. For good reason. It is a remote work world and slack is so easy to collaborate and connect to all your systems. So what we do is we provide assistance particularly on cloud native topics, right in their Slack channels, that source from all the trusted sources that we can find and including up to a million experts in the field.

Swapnil Bhartiya: We have been covering Peritus for so long. So instead of bringing developers to your pipelines, you are moving into their pipeline better where they are, so it’s easy for them to look for information.

Robin Purohit: Correct. Our philosophy analysis is to go where developers are working and then help them there. So as you know, earlier this year we announced a Peritus Assistant on forums. So you go to Stack Overflow or a vendor forum, you find the system that helps you find an answer faster. So we’re taking that experience and now bringing it right to Slack channels, where more developers are working and collaborating every day.

Swapnil Bhartiya: This might be a bit farfetched, but Amazon this week announced some new systems. So are there any Alexa skills also where they can plug in with Peritus and then developers can just simply ask Alexa or that is not in your pipeline yet?

Robin Purohit: That’s a great question. We have an Open API to our Q&A system, that’s built on this recommendation engine. So we have many customers that are actually building conversational experiences now on top of that API. So we’re happy to provide that.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Who is your target user, especially the Peritus Assistant for Slack?

Robin Purohit: Yeah. The prime target for the assistant for Slack is enterprise developer teams. Distributed developer teams that are working on Cloud Native topics, where we’ve prepared and curated a very large dataset of both content and experts that can help them as they work. That can be a small team of a handful of people, growing to a globally distributed team of hundreds or thousands or more.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Right. As you kind of keep adding more platforms to Peritus, what kind of feedback you have received from your user base or what kind of trends you’re seeing? Because, if you look at companies, of course developer’s clients are getting busier and busier. What can mechanical companies have internally to support their developers so they don’t have to look outside?

Robin Purohit: Yeah, I think that’s the big problem, right? It’s that when somebody has a problem, they check internally, they go to Google and they start hunting on a myriad of different forums. So what we see as the common problem is it just takes too long to find an answer from someone you can trust. On the Slack experiences, what we find is that if your question hasn’t been answered after three hours, you’re never going to get a response because Slack has a very ephemeral nature to it. We have several thousand people that installed our assistant for Chrome to use on forums. What we’ve heard from them is we needed more content. So we’re rapidly adding more content, particularly in the cloud data industry, because that way we can connect all the experts that are best known in the industry, and these topics are very intertwined. So our focus, again, is to expand for anything that we can find that’s relevant to somebody working with cloud native technology.

Swapnil Bhartiya: As you’re supporting different platforms, the knowledge base, is it common or with Slack it’s different and the forums it’s different?

Robin Purohit: That’s a great question. We have a recommendation engine and we use that recommendation to continuously source the best content, conversations and experts from everywhere there is a trusted source. That backend engine is used to build multiple applications. The Assistant for Chrome can be used in a new forum and now the Peritus Assistant for Slack. There’s other things that we’re building on top of that as well.

Swapnil Bhartiya: How much things have changed since the… I think it’s been a couple of months since we talked?

Robin Purohit: I think the last time we talked, we just started expanding our datasets, so that’s continued to go well. We have now over a million developers that we’ve indexed in our system, that can provide recommendations and probably over 27 million, not content objects. That’s just going to continue to grow exponentially now, because we’ve really polished our ability to automate and source information from virtually anywhere. So, that’s been a big progress and then we’ve been really hands down getting this Slack experience in place. That’s been the focus over the last two or three months, and then as we talk about later in this call, there’s something new and exciting that I’ll share with you that’s coming soon.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Since we are talking about growth, I also want to talk about this new seed funding. What are the areas that you are looking at for further investment and growth?

Robin Purohit: Yeah. We are really thrilled to have First Rays Venture Partners join…has been a seed investor for over a year now, mainly because they understood the problem within five minutes. And within a couple of weeks, they decided they wanted to participate. They’ve been a super-helpful investor for us, connecting us to a number of prospects and partners. We know we’re always going to keep raising funding, of course, and we’re on to kind of looking for our next investment partners. The main thing the next check will be used for to (a) expand that dataset to everything we can find in the Cloud Native industry. We’re starting to work actually with their Cloud Native Computing Foundation on a number of their projects to bring that into the system. So that’s one area, but most importantly, go to market. Now that we have a product that we know people like, and we think that it’s time to invest heavily in our sales and marketing side. So, the next check will go largely towards boosting that sales and marketing effort.

Swapnil Bhartiya: I know you cannot make any announcement, but if I ask what kind of roadmap you have…of course you are in a space where a lot of innovation is happening. So talk about…give us a glimpse. I don’t want to talk about like one year from now, but a few months from now.

Robin Purohit: No, we can talk about near term startups, that we live on a month by month basis, not year to year, especially at this stage. So our next big focus is something we call community intelligence. So when you think about Slack, Slack is actually used by virtually every open source company as a primary method to build community and also support. The bigger the company gets, the more likely they will have multiple ways of their connecting with their developers. Of course, on GitHub, on Stack Overflow, they start to host their own vendor forums, Reddit, essentially. What we do when somebody is running a community on Slack, we will look at all those conversation history and make that part of our recommendation engine. Then we’ll provide them analytics across what’s happening across all the different community channels they have, so they can drive more effective developer engagement and success.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Of course, CubeCon is around the corner. Are you folks participating at CubeCon? If yes, in what capacity? What are you going to showcase there?

Robin Purohit: Yeah, we’re super excited to be there. We’re an end-user member of CNCF and a lot of our target customers and users are going to be there so we have a number of meetings scheduled. If anybody wants to reach out to me, just send me on Twitter or Robin at Peritus Study ai, and I’d love to chat with you.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Robin, thank you so much for, once again, taking time out today and talk to me and I look forward to our next conversation, which will be about those exciting announcements that are coming out. Thank you.

Robin Purohit: Swapnil, thanks for having me again.

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