Relate team

Announcing Relate CRM

Introducing a better way to connect with customers and simplify sales for B2B teams.

Christopher Chae
· 4 min read
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"Why are you building a CRM? Salesforce already solved it, no?"

Indeed, Salesforce is worth $200 billion today, the largest sales software in the world. But for early-stage startups, it is too expensive, heavy, and difficult to adopt. Managing pipelines, organizations, and contacts in Salesforce just isn't the same experience as writing notes in Notion or messaging a teammate on Slack.

This is why we're building a new sales software for startups and small businesses from the ground up.

After nearly two years of development, we are finally opening our doors to build Relate with a broader public user community. Today, we're announcing Relate CRM — a better way to build customer relationships and simplify B2B sales for teams.

Shout out to our early private beta customers, including Footprint, Fabra, Vizzly, Neusral, Hexlant, DSRV Labs, and SelectStar. Also, to our investors — Y Combinator, Bass Investment, Translink, Bon Angels, and founders of Sendbird, Positional, Headstart, Chartmetric, and Hyperquery.

It started with scratching our own itch.

Before building Relate, we spent our first five pivots working on various B2B products. We needed a way to track our early sales and customer development activities, so we picked a CRM available on the market then — and we quickly found we were limited with old processes. Our sales motion, as a result, was very slow.

We jumped around different CRM solutions, but none worked for us. Adding customer profiles was cumbersome and felt manual. Updating deals daily was taking longer than the selling itself.

Why isn't there a simple and easy-to-use CRM that just works out of the box?

For chat, we love using Slack. And for issue tracking, we love using Linear. But what about sales? Why isn't there a CRM that gives you similar excitement and joy as Slack and Linear?

Frustrated by failing to find one, we built one to solve our problem.

Eight customers signed up on the spot.

We knew that the pain was huge; we felt it ourselves, and after having many conversations with other startups and early-stage companies, we learned that we weren't alone.

We rarely found companies that love Salesforce and HubSpot. They primarily used them because Salesforce and HubSpot were the de facto tooling, and no other options existed.

Despite the size of the pain, CRM as a category is a tough nut to crack. Salesforce and HubSpot already dominate the market and have been doing so for nearly two decades. Do we really want to risk our company competing with them?

Having these doubts, we looked for some proof to ease our minds. So, even before writing a single line of code, we looked for startups willing to buy the idea before seeing the product.

We went through our LinkedIn connections and our contacts to find one company that would be generous enough to put down some money before we build the product. Luckily, we found eight!

We told our story of failing to find a better, simple CRM and showed them our early sketches. They told us they could relate to our story and they agreed to put down a few hundred dollars to secure their spot when we released our first version two months later. Neusral, a PR monitoring SaaS company, was one of them, and they are still our customer today!

Early customers like Neusral gave us the confidence to build our first version of Relate, and they still are the reason we continue to believe in the mission we pursue.

Fast-forward to today, we're now launching a publicly available Relate CRM.

After nearly two years of building in private, we're finally launching Relate as a publicly available product. Our competitors have been in private beta even longer than us, but I think they've also spent a long time in private for a good reason. CRM is a very challenging product to build. We're not just making the same feature sets legacy players have already created. Instead, we’re re-designing and rebuilding each interface, feature, each workflow, and each use case from scratch. It’s a big challenge from both technical and design perspective.

Are we finally ready? No. We still have lots to build, refine, and improve.

But many of our private beta customers use Relate daily, and new customers are also picking up our tool fast. We'll never be "ready," but we decided to open our doors to build Relate with a broader community!

Why Relate?

Relate offers a simple way to build customer relationships and collaborate with teams in one place.

Simple layout + plans for startups

We built something that we'd use for ourselves. We designed the platform and its subscription plans so that it makes sense for B2B startups to install it as a "day 1" tooling alongside Slack, Figma, and Linear. Relate's layout is simple — it's a contact list with a spreadsheet and newsfeed-like UI. Learning how to use the app is easy and straightforward.

Relate also has a free plan that will give you all the powers of a full-fledged CRM!

Crafted product experience

Sales teams use CRMs multiple times daily, checking new updates, writing customer emails, sharing notes with teammates, etc.

And we understand that the software should enhance their workflow, not hinder it. We aim to craft a frictionless and fast workflow for sales teams to go in and out of the CRM.

Smart CRM

From adding a new prospect to closing a deal, Relate streamlines the process and automates repetitive tasks such as creating a deal card and entering status for tracking.

For example, Relate's auto-handoff feature lets you skip the manual work of creating a deal for each corresponding qualified prospect. Qualify the prospect, and you'll see a deal card pop up in your pipeline.

Modern B2B collaboration

Relate's modern B2B collaboration capabilities empower team members to share sales/customer information, insights, and updates directly in the CRM.

Teams can stay organized and aligned through features like shared emails, tasks, assigning, and commenting. Collaboration is further enhanced with @mentions and follow/unfollow notifications, ensuring everyone stays in the loop and nothing falls through.

What's next for Relate?

Our mission is to simplify go-to-market for B2B startups. We are committed to continuously improving the core CRM platform and developing new products that support B2B startups in their go-to-market efforts.

Stay tuned for exciting updates as we work towards making GTM simple and effective.