Personal CRM app Clay adds an AI helper to help you navigate your relationships

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Clay, a startup that’s kind of like a personal CRM because it’s designed to help people manage their own relationships — including those with friends, family, colleagues, industry peers, and more — is now turning to AI to help you extract more insights. fetch your network of contacts. If you ever wanted to ask an AI which of your connections has ever been to a specific place, works at a certain company, or has knowledge of a certain subject, Clay’s new AI navigator, which is called Nexus, can help.

While many people today use AI to summarize information from the web or answer questions on general topics, Nexus uses AI for a more practical and personal purpose, while respecting user privacy.

Clay’s first iteration, launched in 2021, offered a service that pulled information from your address book and other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to build something more powerful than an address book, but also not as focused on sales and pipeline as a traditional CRM system. Instead, the company described its product as a “home for your people,” creating a niche for a kind of personal relationship-oriented database and contact system.

Clay also allowed you to keep track of the latest achievements, recent posts and birthdays of your colleagues and friends and make notes you wanted to remember – like how you met, when you last hung out or what you were talking about – and could organize contacts in groups. Combined, the features allowed you to be more thoughtful and conscientious about your relationships, which could help you with everything from expanding your network to simply becoming better friends.

Now, with the new AI-powered Nexus feature, you can query your personal database to learn even more about your network and help you nurture your relationships.

Image Credits: Clay

“With the current wave of AI tools, I think a lot of what we’re seeing is technology and looking for solutions,” said Matthew Acharam, co-founder of Clay. Prior to Clay, Acharam led product at Y Combinator-backed analytics company Castora. He is joined on Clay by co-founder Zachary Hamed, who previously led product management for Goldman Sachs’ Marquee.

“When we first started Clay, one of the first things we really wanted to do right was find people…we said it’s fundamentally broken because all your data is everywhere, and there’s just too much of it” , explains Aariam. “So we were jumping for joy when we first heard about the advancements in AI, because now you can essentially have your network be a living, portable thing that you need a little help navigating.”

Image Credits: Clay

The company has spent the past year developing their AI functionality to build a tool specifically designed for this purpose, using a combination of technologies from OpenAI, Anthropic, and self-trained models from Hugging Face and other open source technologies to a hybrid model for its own purposes.

The result is Nexus, which allows you to query your own network for insights. For example, you can ask Nexus who you’re inviting to dinner in New York next week or who among your connections knows a lot about chip manufacturing. Or, as Acharam puts it, it’s like talking to your network as if it were a person, and then having it generate a list for you based on its understanding of that data.

The AI ​​helper can also help build relationships as it can help you compose an email to a contact to suggest you want to catch up quickly. Or it can suggest gift ideas for someone’s birthday.

Image Credits: Clay

Given the sensitivity of the information in your network, Clay has always been upfront about how it respects user privacy and security, offering human-readable privacy policies where it tends to default to the most restrictive policies possible. is for all its integrations. For example, it doesn’t retrieve email texts, just metadata like the subject line and recipients. And it’s explicit about what it does and doesn’t collect, doesn’t partner with third-party providers who use data for training purposes, and makes sure everything is opt-in, not opt-out. (And if you later unsubscribe, the information will be deleted.)

“Because you are the processing layer for this data and you can trust us, that means we don’t give all the data to OpenAI or any of these other companies, for example. We can be very specific about the data we use, how we use it and what question it answers,” notes Hamed.

We should note that Clay’s access to Twitter via APIs, as with other companies, has deteriorated since Elon Musk’s policy changes. However, the company says that if existing users had connected to Twitter in the past, that data should still be available.

Image Credits: Clay

Clay doesn’t share how many users are now using his app, which is now available for Mac, Windows, Web, and iOS, with Android coming soon. However, the founders told us that it is approaching nearly 100 million managed relationships, in terms of network size. (That’s not an equivalent of users, as each user can have thousands of people in their own network. But you can do some kind of user estimation here, using averages.)

The app itself is popular in a number of industries, ranging from early career MBA students, where they meet lots of people, to those with extensive networks, such as VCs. Some smaller corporate clients also use Clay to build better relationships with their best customers, but not for sales pipeline concerns.

The startup also now offers tiered pricing, starting with a free personal plan with more limited search history and a Pro Plan ($20/mo) with unlimited search history. It says the new AI features will roll out to both plans at no additional cost, as the team believes this will now become a big selling point for its app.

“We wanted to get it into people’s hands. We really believe this is a unique use case for AI and we’re the first people to do it in this — kind of CRM, networking, contacts whatever — space. So we wanted to give people a taste of what’s to come,” says Hamed.

Since the feature is currently in technical preview, users will only be able to “refresh” their network’s data for the AI ​​use case once a month, but that will improve over time.

Still a small team of 14, Clay is backed by just over $8 million in seed money from Forerunner Ventures, General Catalyst and others. The company has seen incoming interest in its AI plans, but has not committed to raising an additional round at this time.

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