First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ishay Tentser: We are fine. Life has changed for us dramatically. There is no international travelling, working from home both for me and my wife, less social activities, more nature, and family time.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded TimelinesAI.
Ishay Tentser: I’m proud to be co-founder and CEO at the innovative and high-performing software development company: Initech Software Ltd. We help entrepreneurs and business owners use technology to solve core business issues. Over the course of the last 10 years, we have proudly served hundreds of customers in different industries. I am a graduate of Hebrew University (B.Sc. in Computer Sciences) and the Technion (MBA). Before Initech, I participated as a founding member in several startups.
How does TimelinesAI innovate?
Ishay Tentser: During the Covid pandemic, we started a company transformation; in addition to being a services company, we have launched a SaaS product TimelinesAI. We noticed that a big part of communication happens on messengers, and there was a lack of tools to help businesses efficiently manage and control it. Especially during the Covid, when people switched to remote work. In our own experience, we found out that there are no good tools for teams to collaborate and share their WhatsApp communications with clients and customers.
TimelinesAI is a shared inbox for WhatsApp.We help teams to collaborate on WhatsApp communication with customers and clients. Connect one or several individuals to manage all chats in one place collectively. The whole setup takes two minutes. No coding skills, developers, or business approval is required. We also allow you to bring WhatsApp conversations into CRM, ERP, or ATS systems.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business finances?
Ishay Tentser: During March-April 2020, a significant part of our clients stopped or decreased investments in software development. This affected us both in Q1 and Q2 of 2020. But starting from Q3, we experienced an increase both in leads and closure rate. I hope that in Q2, we will be back on track from a services perspective, in addition to our SaaS product (TimelinesAI) gaining significant traction.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Ishay Tentser: Yes, during the hard months of March-April, we had to furlough about 10% of our team. Some of them returned to their jobs in the second half of 2020, but some did not.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Ishay Tentser: Actually, TimelinesAI was developed from an internal need for efficient management of customer relations on WhatsApp. I can proudly note that it made distributed work much easier and increased customer satisfaction.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Ishay Tentser: Yes, actually Israeli government has been very supportive. We received several types of grants both to keep our business during a hard time and for new initiatives.
Your final thoughts?
Ishay Tentser: As many said to have before, the crisis is also a time of opportunities. The last year presented us with many challenges but also gave us new opportunities. We used it to make ourselves more resilient in terms of company, team, and human beings. The rise of remote and distributed work offers a huge opportunity, and we invite you to join us on the journey of providing the best tools for navigating it.
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