Between multiple meetings with salespeople and walkthroughs from tech experts, the typical B2B software-buying experience involves spending “a good chunk of your week just trying to figure out what the product is.” As Lancey co-founder and CEO Adi Patel put it, the current process is “frustrating and incredibly time-consuming.”
Adi Patel and his twin brother Abhi—a pair of former Ada employees—have set out to “disrupt the status quo” in B2B software sales with Toronto-based startup Lancey.
Lancey wants to kill the pesky ‘book a demo’ button “once and for all.”
With its interactive demonstration platform, Lancey hopes to kill the pesky ‘book a demo’ button “once and for all.” By permitting prospective customers to “try before you buy,” Lancey aims to help the B2B software-selling companies it caters to increase their sales velocity and ensure more targeted leads.
Lancey has secured $2 million CAD from Panache Ventures, Union Capital, Garage Capital, Functional Capital, Y Combinator (YC), Techstars managing director Collin Wallace, and Ada co-founder and CEO Mike Murchison. The startup plans to use this funding to fuel the launch of its solution, as Lancey looks to help B2B software companies close deals more efficiently—at a time when doing so has become key amid the broader market downturn.
This summer, Lancey graduated from YC as part of the Silicon Valley accelerator’s smallest Canadian cohort since Winter 2019. The startup’s seed round, which represents Lancey’s first funding to date, closed in early October and was raised as a SAFE.
Prior to launching Lancey, the Patel brothers had worked in tech for over seven years at a variety of firms, with designs on eventually launching a venture of their own. In 2021, their paths converged at Toronto brand interaction software unicorn Ada, where Adi Patel landed work as an enterprise solutions consultant and Abhi served as a senior software engineer.
“In the sales role I was in before at Ada, we realized [that] most folks who come and talk to us really want to see the product, [but] most companies make them run through the typical sales playbook,” said Patel. “And so we said, if we can cut some steps, what does that look like in the grand scheme of things?”
For Adi and Abhi Patel, Lancey began as a side project while they were working at Ada. After they applied to Y Combinator and gained acceptance earlier this year, the brothers decided to follow in Murchison’s footsteps and strike out on their own earlier this year. “He’s been a big inspiration,” said Patel, noting that Murchison has also backed Lancey as part of the startup’s seed round.
“Lancey is focused on empowering [go-to-market] teams with automation that improves the software purchasing experience,” said Murchison. “And as Ada alum, they are skilled at making automation easy to use. I’m excited to play a small role in supporting Adi and Abhi transform the software-buying experience.”
Lancey is gearing up for a formal public launch of its platform early next year. Over the longer term, Patel believes there’s an opportunity in removing salespeople from the equation altogether. “Can we now do it with less people? And then, can we do it in the future without a salesperson?” But the CEO acknowledged that a lot more work needs to be done to get there.
According to Patel, Lancey is operating in “a fairly new category.” He noted that while there are some other small startups trying to address the same problem, Lancey is not “going up against any established players.” Given this, the CEO anticipates that Lancey will need to do some additional legwork to bring customers up to speed. “The biggest thing, at this point, is actually more of the awareness, the education,” he added.
Heading into what could be a prolonged economic downturn, Patel noted that B2B software sales growth targets still haven’t gone away, but the need to operate more efficiently has increased, as companies across the board have begun spending more cautiously.
Lancey’s platform helps firms get the right customers in the door and avoid wasting time talking to folks who aren’t the right fit for the product, by weeding them out before sales personnel get involved. The company offers “a double play” for B2B software sellers that could prove to be particularly appealing during this economic environment.
As for its own business, so far, Lancey is practicing what it preaches on the efficiency front. The CEO noted that Lancey is acutely aware of its burn rate in light of these challenging market conditions, especially given that the startup hasn’t operated in any other market. Lancey currently has a lean team of three, modest hiring goals, and over 46 months of runway.
“We can’t predict the future, but I think being responsible with investors’ money is going to be big for us,” said Patel. “We never had money to waste from the beginning, and we never got to develop bad habits of spending money that we didn’t have.”
As Murchison noted, “as software becomes increasingly easy to use and monetized with subscription models, buyers want to be able to try products before they buy them.” With Lancey, the Patel brothers aim to help B2B software sellers make that happen.
Feature image courtesy Lancey.