Meet Charlie, a tool that could potentially replace half of a PR intern’s job.
You see, Charlie briefs you on the person you’re about to meet or chat with — just like those “briefing sheets” PR interns spend hours every month or week putting together for their clients before a battery of reporters interview them in carefully scheduled 30-minute slots. Charlie has just raised $1.7 million in new funding, but not from PR interns for obvious reasons.
After you plug in your calendar and email, Charlie pulls information about the people in your calendar’s meetings from hundreds of thousands of sources (social media, news, company databases), sifts through them, and puts all the important items into a one-page report it emails you an hour before your meeting. It’s just enough for you to read in a couple of minutes before feigning to know these people. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to sift through the info and figure out how to package it together.
“When I was a student, I was going to job interviews, and for every single interview, I did a bunch of research … and I just thought, ‘Is there anything that could do this for me?'” founder Aaron Frazin said in an interview with VentureBeat. After finding out that there wasn’t, he decided to build Charlie.
It’s reminiscent of Rapportive, the email extension LinkedIn acquired (then shuttered) that pulls up information in a sidebar about a sender when you’re reading an email from them. Another product, Refresh, also pulls in information about a new connection to find common ground (and pretend you’re meant to be besties). It’s also part of a bigger workplace trend of using AI to serve up suggestions, such as Stitch’s email app for salespeople, which proposes interactions with prospects, for example.
Charlie raised its seed funding from round lead Lightbank, as well as Hyde Park Venture Partners, Confluence Capital Partners, Patrick Spain, Lon Chow, and Armando Pauker or Apex Venture Partners, and will use it to grow its engineering team. Frazin and Rob Volk founded the company in 2013, and it’s based in Chicago. It graduated from the Dreamit Ventures accelerator in Philadelphia, Penn. and 1871 in Chicago, Ill.