The difference between SaaS with and without AI is simple: the latter enables people to do things quicker and better, while the former can enable people to do things much quicker, and far better.
AI-powered CRMs can deliver highly personalized targeting, AI-driven ERPs can optimize resource planning, and AI-enhanced business intelligence tools can uncover hidden patterns and provide predictive insights. In practice, it has the potential to revolutionize entire industries, and at a higher level, even how we solve the world’s bigger problems.
With success contingent on their ability to solve client pain points as effectively as possible, any B2B SaaS worth its salt has thought about the strategic use of AI to supercharge its products.
The challenge lies in surpassing the capabilities of foundation models such as Open AI, in order to create real in-app value. We spoke to five Hexa-born founders creating B2B SaaS products across the industry spectrum, from recruitment to fraud and compliance, to see what they think AI has in store for their companies, industries, and the world at large.
AI is a powerful tool to enhance meaningful candidate relationships, diversity, bias mitigation, and the overall advancement of ethical practices within recruitment.
“Recruiters today face a dual challenge: not only must they establish meaningful connections with potential candidates, they must also align with contemporary business goals of diversity and inclusion. These time-intensive objectives can find a potential solution in the integration of AI.
Using AI for personalized engagement with candidates is an obvious application. Within Crew, we're incorporating this by allowing our clients to effortlessly create tailored communication. Just by uploading a job description and a candidate's CV, hyper-personalized outreach and follow-up messages can be generated.
AI's role also extends to enhancing diversity and inclusion in recruitment. At the moment, seeking candidates from diverse backgrounds requires manually sifting through profiles, more or less at random. This can be tedious and less effective. AI streamlines this by allowing recruiters to input criteria, upon which it conducts a comprehensive search, presenting a shortlist of matching profiles.
Beyond efficiency, AI addresses bias in recruitment. Unlike conventional scorecards, AI algorithms impartially assess candidate qualifications, mitigating unconscious bias. This bias-fighting capacity also extends to crafting job descriptions that are more inclusive and attractive to a wider array of candidates, tackling bias at the source.
However, it's important to acknowledge that AI isn't immune to bias itself. Since AI systems are developed by humans, embedded biases in data or algorithms can persist. What's certain, though, is that this technology significantly advances ethical practices and efficiency from our current standpoint.”
Amine is co-founder and CEO of Crew (eF#20), a recruitment CRM built for teams.
The unique synergies created between AI and Web3 can support humans in the areas we naturally fall short, leading to a society based on greater transparency, efficiency, and innovation.
“Together, AI and Web3 have the potential to create a more intelligent, efficient, and fairer world. It’s not about technology replacing humans, but enhancing our capabilities in areas where we are inherently less proficient. AI-empowered blockchains and protocols would be able to stack the powers of machine learning capabilities with the decentralization of Web3, enabling greater transparency, value exchange, and education. As a Web3 enthusiast and a strong believer in all its principles, it’s impossible not to be excited about that.
Although their integration won't be immediate, we can anticipate beneficial synergies emerging in the meantime. AI and Web3 bring distinct advantages that can complement each other, addressing gaps where one technology may fall short. Take generative AI, which faces challenges related to content authenticity and authorship. As AI models improve at emulating human language and generating diverse content, distinguishing between human and AI-created content becomes complex. This raises concerns about accuracy, potential misinformation, and safeguarding intellectual property. By employing blockchain—an immutable, decentralized digital ledger—for timestamping and documenting purposes, each content piece can establish an enduring record of its origin and ownership.
AI and Web3 have unique strengths that, when combined thoughtfully, can shape a more secure, efficient, and innovative future, and I look forward to seeing how tech actors, Cohort included, will leverage it.”
Séraphie is co-founder and CEO of Cohort (3f#22), a company empowering consumer-focused brands with NFTs to boost their long-term engagement strategies.
The integration of AI within CRMs can transform relationship-building into a scalable, predictive, and personalized operation, enhancing connections while preserving the human touch.
"AI-powered CRMs can revolutionize relationship-building by enabling users to forge meaningful connections at scale, a feat previously limited to individual interactions. Imagine a CRM that not only stores contact information but also intelligently predicts their behavior, preferences, and needs. This predictive capability can enable teams to proactively engage with clients and prospects, leading to stronger relationships and conversion - whatever that may mean for the relationship in question.
At folk, we've already taken strides by incorporating AI for personalization through our "magic fields" feature, enabling users to send perfectly tailored automated messages. Good relationships depend on authenticity, but right now, the extent of personalization of automated messages stops at a contact’s name and company. However, with magic fields, you can automate messages that consider all past interactions and understand individuals on a deeper level. Thousands of our clients are already using it and reporting huge time savings.
Beyond suggesting messages, in the future, we can envisage a CRM that even weighs in on strategy. The AI would analyze data in the background, picking up on things before you might. For example, it could realize that a certain phrase you like to use in your messages might not be resonating, or that the frequency of interactions with a certain country is decreasing. An AI-powered CRM would pick up on this in real time, and suggest an approach that could be more effective.
While AI will greatly aid relationship management, the human touch will remain paramount. AI complements, rather than replaces, the personalized connections that teams foster. folk's AI integration will serve as the backbone of our mission, providing the tools that empower teams to excel in their relationship management.”
Jean-Yves is CTO at folk (eF#19), the next-generation customer relationship tool for teams.
AI can help B2B SMBs sell more and better, automating tasks and identifying missed sales opportunities. This liberates them to focus on the lifeblood of successful B2B commerce: cultivating strong relationships.
“AI will become a key vector of the modernization of B2B sales companies, allowing them to streamline operations and increase sales. AI use should not be reserved for large corporations as the potential impacts are just as high for small and medium businesses. Just like big businesses, B2B SMBs spend a lot of time on tasks that don’t directly add value, and both handle massive amounts of structured and unstructured data, e.g. large product catalogs, past orders, etc. By leveraging AI, they can free up time to nurture client relationships.
To realize AI’s potential in sales, it is important to focus on a few specific use cases. This is true for audiences of all shapes and sizes, but especially those within SMBs with fewer resources. Its value proposition must be crystal clear and should seek to preserve human interaction at all costs. This needs to be developed in priority to ensure the adoption of future internal users. It is the only way AI will create value.
At Catalog, we have identified several concrete use cases for AI within our product, working hand in hand with field sales and admin teams. We’ve started with an AI-fuelled email-to-order feature, which detects information such as customer names, order details, prices, and addresses from invoices, and automatically enters them into the order system.
But this is just the beginning. In addition to automating time-consuming tasks, AI will also assist in fulfilling other important responsibilities. Providing tailored recommendations and helping customers find the product most suited to their needs are key to nurturing client relationships, but finding the time is often difficult. AI can help. For instance, if a product is out of stock, AI can step in to find the best alternative, sifting through a catalog of 15,000+ product units.
At Catalog, we are convinced that intelligent use of AI will create tremendous value for users. It’s now up to us to prove it.”
Julien is CEO and co-founder of Catalog (eF#22), an ordering solution enabling B2B retailers to bring their commerce online and boost sales.
AI has the potential to make fraud detection more efficient, accurate, and fast for fintechs, facilitating rule creation and data interpretation.
“In the rapidly evolving world of fintech, where speed and accuracy are paramount, AI has the potential to redefine how we combat fraud.
Transactions contain a wealth of text-heavy data (name, bank, country, etc), some of which can go undetected by traditional detection methods, leaving room for fraud. AI can step in by classifying transactions as safe, suspicious, or otherwise, by interpreting the transaction’s data, without relying on lists of high-risk words inputted by the fintechs themselves. This allows the identification of fraudulent activity that may have been missed before. This is Marble's first AI-centered objective and a feature we will launch this year.
In the second phase, AI's capabilities will expand to rule creation. While Marble currently offers an uncomplicated no-code tool for rule generation, the integration of AI will allow users to provide natural language instructions to create rules aligned with their preferences. As the technology matures, a more advanced stage will be reached: AI will autonomously propose rules by analyzing historical data. This innovation represents a revolutionary step for rule engines like Marble and its users. The AI will autonomously recognize correlations and behaviors indicative of fraud, suggesting improvements to detection strategies.
Lastly, AI will enhance the accessibility of data insights. In the context of Marble, we are exploring the development of AI-generated investigation reports. Additionally, we aim to empower users to swiftly extract and comprehend data from the system through interactions with Marble. For instance, users could inquire about the number of transactions originating from Russia in the past four months that surpassed a specific value, aiding data-driven decision-making. In essence, AI has the potential to make fintech more secure, efficient, and adaptive.”
Arnaud is co-founder and CEO of Marble (LF#22), a real-time rule engine for fraud and compliance monitoring, designed for fintech companies and financial institutions.
It’s clear that the future of AI is not a distant, abstract concept, but an unfolding reality. Each of these Hexa-born entrepreneurs is harnessing the potential of AI in their respective industries, using it not as a replacement for human ingenuity and connection, but as a powerful amplifier of our skills. Outside of this list, there are even more startups in the current Hexa batch doing the same.
When used intelligently, AI can augment human abilities and free us from mundane tasks to focus on what truly matters: creating value, nurturing relationships, and solving complex problems - whether in the context of SaaS, the workplace, or even the world at large.