Digital chief-of-staff app Accompany raises $20M and launches a UK Beta

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Accompany, an app that Amy Chang bets will be able to replace the chief-of-staff or personal assistant of an executive, launched just a few months ago. The app had been in the works for a while, and now it’s finally starting to pick up steam — and it’s launching in the United Kingdom as a beta today.

Chang also said on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt London 2016 that the company also raised an additional $20 million in financing led by Ignition Partners with previous investor CRV also participating. Accompany launched in beta in the United States in August after Chang and her team had worked on the service since 2013.

“The first time I walked into a room of 20 Intel executives, and I thought some Google searching would do it, that’s when I got my ass handed to me,” Chang said on stage. “It was bad, they had had a re-org the Monday before and I missed it. I thought to myself, ‘there has got to be a tool to help me not get caught flat-footed.’ If they just had a very bad quarter, I want to know that too. We looked everywhere for it, it just didn’t exist, and we literally tried everything.”

Chang’s bet is that there’s a slot for an app that can replace the chief of staff role, which many executives have in order to manage their complicated schedules and lives. And even in hiring those people, they still may miss out on critical information that might help with those conversations and meetings.

Accompany looks to create a more complete download of all that information by pulling a ton of information from unstructured sources — whether that information is public or simply notes you’ve left yourselves about that person — in order to create a sort of dossier for those meetings and conversations. That information even drills down into the financial performance of the company an executive runs that you’re meeting.

That’s also good for smaller companies which might not necessarily have the resources to bring on a chief-of-staff or assistant role, but still need to have all that relevant information. When trying to build a relationship, even that small idle chat at the start of a conversation is important to build rapport with a potential future business contact. And it also gives people an idea of when is a good idea to reach out to one of their contacts, such as when they are notified that they got promoted or changed jobs.

The Accompany service proper works as an app, a Web client and also a Gmail plugin that gives that download in a way that’s palatable and readily accessible. There’s also plenty of reasons to come back beyond just meetings by offering news alerts about a user’s contacts and companies they may follow, as well as large dossiers on companies they can cross-reference as they do research.

For Accompany, the challenge is going to be staying ahead of the competition. The service was in development for a long time, though it was able to roll out in the United Kingdom pretty quickly following its U.S. launch. There are a lot of plugins for Gmail that handle small slices of what Accompany does, as well as some automated digital assistants like Clara. All of these might not be an entire suite, but they all clearly have the potential to become more robust products that end up accomplishing that suite of tasks.

The company has previously raised $20.6 million from from Capital, CRV and Cowboy Ventures.