4Degrees – Accelerated!

Ablorde Ashigbi

Ablorde Ashigbi

Is the CEO of 4Degrees, a Chicago-based technology company, building relationship intelligence software for relationship driven industries. Before 4Degrees, he was an investor at Pritzker Group, and a consultant at Bain & Company.

We just finished Techstars Chicago – momma, we made it!

David and I were already convinced of the value of the program and how it would, well, accelerate the progress of 4Degrees before beginning Techstars. At PGVC, we had the privilege of working with many phenomenal Chicago alums(e.g., Wise Apple, Lightstream), and saw the impact of the program firsthand.

Now at the (bittersweet!) end of our own Techstars session, we can already say it exceeded our expectations — and we have no doubt the value will only become more apparent over time.

A quick summary of our progress:

We began Techstars with a largely manual set of contact management functionality, a UX modeled after the spreadsheets that David and I had built for ourselves, and customer discovery across multiple sectors.

We set out to i) prove commercial demand for a more intelligent way to manage and build relationships, and ii) make meaningful strides towards bringing that to life in the product. In the past three months:

  • Commercial: We signed up 28 co-development partners (firms) that span Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Recruiting. In the process, we’ve heard from people in dozens of other professions (e.g., Real Estate, Investment Banking, Consulting), all of whom have expressed a similar need, and an excitement to test our product with their firms whenever we have something for them.
  • Product: We launched three foundational pieces of our platform: i) prioritizing your contacts automatically, ii) adding tags for contacts automatically, and iii) proactively giving you relevant contacts for trips you’re taking. We also completely overhauled the user interface — spreadsheet no more!

Where we’re headed next:

Over the next few months, we’ll be working intensively with our co-development partners, refining and testing functionality for our team product. We’ve got a fantastic group of partners lined up, and are thrilled to work with them to shape the future of relationship management.

In concert, we’ll be continuing to push beyond the boundaries of what’s been accomplished in the relationship management space. Suffice it to say — we think there’s a lot of untapped potential to apply emerging technology to help you build better professional relationships, and make your network more engaged and valuable.

How you can help:

  • If you’re interested learning more about 4Degrees for your firm, reach out to founders@4degrees.ai.
  • If you’re interested in being an individual user: join our waitlist.
  • If you want to keep up with what we’re building and what we’re learning: follow us on here or Twitter.
  • If you have suggestions or ideas on what you’d like to see in the future of professional relationship management: feel free to reach out to me at ablorde@4degrees.ai.

Finally, thank you:

First, to the mentors. We were blown away by the level of mentorship and support from some of the best operators, builders, and investors in the world. You’re all extremely busy people, and we appreciate you coming to us to give of your years of hard won experience. We ended each day with pages of ideas, notes and offers of help, which translated into potential hires, customer introductions, and hands on product and design assistance.

While there are too many of you to thank individually for all of your help, we wanted to give a few special shoutouts for going above and beyond the call of duty: Justin MassaKyle McConnell, Brent Rasmussen, Leonid SagalovskyPek PongpaetJosh InglisSonia Sahney NagarRobert Hatta, and Sean Chou.

Next, to the Techstars team. Whether it was keeping us stocked with cold brew, helping interview potential hires, scheduling 750 meetings in 30 days, or reminding us to “believe in your fucking self” — we appreciate your hard work, counsel, and good vibes.

Last, but certainly not least — thank you to the rest of our cohort. We’ve walked away from this experience with a team of fellow founders that are going off to do incredible things, and are tackling some of the worlds most meaningful challenges. But more importantly, you are all incredible people that we’ll be friends with for a long time.

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