Pricing Matters: Good Karma Exchange – Customer-Centricity in SaaS
March 8th, 2021 (Updated 05/14/2021) | 33 min. read
Good Karma Exchange: Building Your Business Model on Customer-Centricity
I have a very special episode of “Pricing Matters” for you. I sat down with Marcin Cichon, CEO and founder of Pricefx to pick his brain about building a business, product-customer-market fit and pee your pants moments in product development. Even though I have known Marcin for years, I still learned a lot from this conversation and I’m sure you will too.
You can listen to the podcast from the embedded player below and read along from the transcript. You can also listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever else podcasts are hosted. Want to see the conversation and not just listen? Watch it on YouTube.
The Difference is Passionate Excellence
Gabe Smith 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to Pricing Matters. Today we have our first internal guests, our co-founder and CEO, Marcin Cichon. Welcome, Marcin. Thanks for being with us.
Marcin Cichon 0:10
Thank you for having me, Gabe.
Gabe Smith 0:11
It’s my pleasure, we’re really honored to have you as a guest. So for the listeners that are not familiar with Pricefx and the Pricefx story, can you tell us what Pricefx does? And a little bit about how you came to start the company and why you did it?
Marcin Cichon 0:24
Sure. It’s actually quite unexpected, I guess. But it’s actually my grandma’s fault. You know, she was the early source of the inspiration that ultimately defines my professional life. And because of her today, I believe in three foundational things that are absolutely key to founding and running a successful business.
You know, one of those three is just being different in everything that you do. The second one is being excellent in everything that you do. And the other one is to be passionate about everything that you do. And, you know, it’s hard to believe that about 10 years ago, when we started the business, in our industry, the Generation One vendors have not embraced any of the concepts that are absolutely normal today, like SaaS, software as a service, or cloud. And they were heavily undifferentiated, lousy in their execution and the way they serve their customers, and honestly, very, very far away from being passionate. And that’s where I saw our big chance. And that’s how Pricefx was born.
Gabe Smith 1:23
Why don’t we just also talk about what Pricefx does, if someone’s just tuning into this, most people will already know, but can you describe for the listeners what Pricefx is and what we do?
Marcin Cichon 1:31
Pricefx is a cloud-based provider of pricing solutions in the broadest possible sense. So we try to cover every aspect of pricing. That is not only focusing on the punctual resolution of solutions in the area of pricing, or key detection analytics, or price setting or in some other space CPQ, but we see this very, very holistically. And we cover the full spectrum of the pricing functionality and solutions that we provide.
So,starting from analytics through AI-based optimization, moving into a definition of price definitions, price setting, execution of pricing towards the discount and promotion management, moving throughout the waterfall to aspects of pricing, like rebate management, channel management, which is popularly also called shipping and debit, through to quoting, execution of the classical CPQ, where the loop is closing. And all that is what we do day in day out, as I said before, as a native-cloud provider and on the basis of software as a service approach.
2020 From a CEO’s and Founder’s Perspective
Gabe Smith 2:28
So having come from one of the gen one providers that you talked about there, I can tell you that there’s a reason that I’m here. And then I think Pricefx is really, truly delivering on the opportunity that exists. But I’d like to talk about something more recent, which is taking a look back at 2020, which was a wild and challenging one in many ways. And I wanted to talk about, as a leader of a company and also as someone that interacts a lot with our customers and sees the challenges that they’re facing. Can you talk about some of those challenges and how we responded to them and how we helped our customers get through 2020 and excel?
Marcin Cichon 3:00
2020 was quite a ride, but one that turned out to be quite positive for Pricefx. And there is definitely reasons for that. And I’m very grateful for that. Our customers have been challenged with very, very a sudden and massive shift in the way how they do business, how they sell their goods and services. Traditional channels that have been in place and have been used by many of them all of a sudden vanish and new opened up.
Digitalization really became key. We are by the nature at the forefront of digitalization, we are the native cloud-based service in our industry, we are not requiring an investment and can operate 100% virtually, that’s why it is pretty much the time of our life, to be honest, all the increasing demands for digital commerce solutions for dynamic pricing, supporting multiple channels of the distribution of the goods and service of our customers in combination with a very compelling value proposition that is resulting from pricing, which we offer and we are really good at, let us grow and expand despite the rather challenging economic environment.
So, I am really sorry to see many of our customers and businesses out there struggling. And this situation being actually pretty advantageous for us. But yes, we actually used the moment provided to us and through the fact that we’re providing those solutions that are at the forefront and the core of the current digitalization wave. We had actually a pretty good year.
Long-Term Strategy for a SaaS Company
Gabe Smith 4:17
I wanted to capture some of the current but also looking forward and we just had our 10th anniversary. It’s a big celebration that we did. Obviously, it was a virtual one we would love to be together. Over the last decade. I think we’ve done a lot to disrupt our industry. And we’ve done a lot of innovation. When we look at the next decade, Can you talk about 2021 and beyond looking forward right at our company and at pricing and pricing software in general? Can you talk about your vision for the company in the space and what you see happening?
Marcin Cichon 4:46
We definitely have big and very bold plans and we are very ambitious. We created what we do today for a reason. And the clear target of our strategy is to become very, very soon, something what I call a mega vendor in the pricing solution space. Very similar to what Salesforce accomplished 15/20 years ago in CRM, something what Workday accomplished in HR and finance SaaS solutions. What currently Coupa is achieving in BSM. 2021, and the years ahead of us, I’m absolutely sure of it, offer a massive opportunity for us because the trends I just talked about will only increase and the demand for digital and especially pricing solutions that I said before, which are in the core and forefront of the digitalization, I expect will go through the roof.
And the company that is best prepared to respond to this increased demand and grab the largest share of the market is Pricefx. And that’s why I believe the future is great for us. And we definitely are on the way to become the mega vendor in the industry and dominant player.
The Risks and Pitfalls of Complacency
Gabe Smith 5:51
What would you say are the risks for companies that don’t digitally transform their pricing or commercial strategy or quote to cash processes? That’s a lot of what we help companies do. And we see the benefits of it. But for maybe people that haven’t gone through it or just looking at this, can you talk about what that means for these companies and what it means if they don’t do that, from a competitive standpoint?
Marcin Cichon 6:12
Well, it’s exactly what’s happening to companies that don’t go with the demand or what needs to be done to respond to the market changes and the current challenges. They will be just left behind. There is no way the company can continue to manage the increasing complexity with their current environment, and also the challenges that are ahead of us. And I am absolutely convinced that the economy and the environment and society will present us with some unexpected turns like we just seen last year.
You have to be agile, you have to be able to respond to this. I believe that relying on historical data and on things that you’ve been doing in the past, and the procedures that you got used to will just not work for you. Not for deriving any optimization learnings from the data that are massively impacted by very unusual events, like, for example, the COVID crisis, or some other things that happened in the last decade, so on one hand side. On the other hand side, you have to be agile, you have to be able to respond quickly to the changes that are happening in the market.
And without having the solutions at hand that allow you to be quick to respond to these changes very quickly to refine your pricing strategy on the fly if needed, to derive certain analytics and learnings from the data today that are telling you the story today and not based only on your performance over the last few years that are highly noisy and unreliable will be making a difference. And those companies that are ready for this and are embracing the digitalization wave, including pricing and other solutions that are in this area, will definitely be prepared to face the challenges of the future and those who don’t, they will be left behind.
Early Wins and Lessons
Gabe Smith 7:51
That’s well put. Let’s look back a little bit and talk about, I wanted to capture some of those stories of Pricefx, right. About our origin story, which you talked a little bit about, about customer stories. One of the stories that I often tell, and I’m asked to tell sometimes is about how I joined Pricefx and why I joined Pricefx. And you probably remember this back in 2015.
We talked a lot about the platform and how flexible it was and how fast it was to implement. And I thought wow, this is really something if it’s as good as what they say it is, right. So I said, “Well, I’m not sure though, I’m going to be a little bit skeptical, put me on a consulting project.” And I actually signed up for helping with the implementation of an existing customer that was deployed in Central Europe. And we were deploying them to the UK, right. So we’re taking their Central European instance, copying it over to the UK and making the changes that we needed to. And I remember Stephen and I had this workshop plan. And we spent, I think we spent one to two days kind of preparing for it. And then we had a two day on site workshop. And by the middle of the second day, we were done with what we could do that they were able to make decisions on and done as it not documented what those changes were but actually configured those changes in the system.
In one and a half days. When I looked at that, and I said wow, with the other vendors that are in this space, this would have taken three, four months and cost, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars and been a ton of documentation. And we just sat there on the fly and rather than document it, actually configured it in the software. And I said okay, this is as good as what they say it is. So, let’s go. The rest is history.
So, I’d love to get some of your insight or your stories about your favorite customer stories or your favorite Pricefx stories and on our 10th, anniversary help to record some of that stuff for the Pricefx family and the extended Pricefx family as well.
Marcin Cichon 9:36
My favorite customer, there’s no such thing, all of my customers are my favorite customers. But I do have a lot of stories and some of them are my favorite stories. But just the one which you just said before is the story of disruption.
This is something that we’re really committed ourselves to and you know, the architecture of the solution that we created at the inception, and we’ve been working so hard for years, created this environment that is unseen among our competition in the industry, where you can make changes on the fly, where you can apply changes from one configuration to the other. And instead of writing documents and building things and verifying things, we just move forward in an agile way, in a very, very flexible configuration layer, and deliver value. Right. So that’s your story, my story, and I said, so many of them.
But I think one of my favorites is another story of disruption that we actually brought to our industry that was unseen and unthinkable before we actually showed up. And that’s the story of us providing our customers with extremely flexible contractual terms. Before us showing up in the industry, everything was perpetual, everything was terms, it was three year terms’ commitment, it was you have to pay it for pilots, you have to pay for proof of concept, you have to make commitments, take a lot of money into your hand, applications were expensive, implementations took years, it was very hard to commit to a vendor. And once you committed, you were in this and you couldn’t get out no matter what.
And my favorite story is when we were competing for one of our very first early-adopting customers that became a history changing or game changing customer, which is in Europe, an extremely well-known brand, a huge company, I think one of the world’s largest privately held companies with about 75 or 80 billion year revenue. They run a big evaluation with all of our competitors in the room and in the process. And we actually have been selected and you know, at the day when, when I was going to come through to the headquarters of the automotive aftermarket business of them, and we were kind of getting the message that we have been selected, and they want to go with us. I returned back home.
And you know, as always, in my career, when I was traveling a lot and selling, you know, software solutions. My wife had been waiting for me at the airport. And when I walked through the gate and greeted her, first thing she did when she looked in my eyes and said, “have they signed?” And there was just a response to what she was used to my entire career I was I was chasing businesses, and the only thing that matters was signature on the paper. Because I knew that once they sign, once they commit to the perpetual license or the long-term perm license, there are mine. And we win, they maybe win maybe not. But they are ours. In this case, we knew because we were offering extremely flexible contract terms in the early stage of our business, we allowed customers to terminate on the monthly basis, which was unthinkable.
And we actually didn’t even ask the customers to sign up with us, they only could send us an email and confirm that they are accepting our general terms and conditions, like you would be subscribing to the telephone line, mobile telephone line, we were in business, and the only thing that we wanted them to keep them with us was their loyalty. So that extremely customer centric approach that doesn’t require agreements. And when my wife, you know, greeted me at the airport and said, “have they signed?” I thought for a moment and I said “no, and they probably never will.” And there was an extremely liberating moment where I felt, okay, we’ve created something unique, something very different, something very disruptive. And I think that was one of the foundations of our success. How does that story sound?
The Secret Ingredient – Customer-Centricity
Gabe Smith 13:06
That sounds good. Yeah, I agree about it’s a very customer-centric view that Pricefx has. And I think a lot of the disruption really came from that focus on how do we reduce the risk for customers, right, we saw the value being provided in this space, which is immense, it’s probably one of the most valuable enterprise software spaces that there is in terms of actual return on investment and being able to clearly illustrate that return. But the gen one providers were just asking for all of these things, commitments, all this money, all this implementation fee all this time. And it just required so much patience, and so much risk and so much where with all to actually go through all that to get the first penny out of it, you had to spend millions of dollars or hundreds of 1000s of dollars.
And so that’s really what I see as the disruptive forces that focus on the customer and really coming up with a strategy and then a company and a platform that reduces that risk down to the minimum possible amount.
That kind of brings me to the next topic, which is on this customer-centric culture that we have and the importance of that. You know, I recently had David Cancel, who’s the CEO of Drift, and I think he started five companies or something like this. A serial entrepreneur, well-spoken and great understanding of the things that have led to his success. And one of those things has been really hyper focus on customer right, almost to an obsession level.
And he talked about this epiphany that he had had where he had been talking to an engineer and trying to get this change made forever. And then what happened was he connected that engineer and actually had them do support and talk to the customer himself. And the next thing you know, he was making that change that David had been asking for forever, because he had that direct interaction and he understood the perspective so he got that context. He actually understood the pain that the customer was facing as a result of this thing.
And it wasn’t a big deal, but he had been pushing back on it because he gets requests from all over the place, but when it came from the customer, so part of what he does, and I think part of what we do as well, is really try to get as many people directly interacting with customers and understanding that. I know a lot of our innovation also has been customer led and customer focus. So, can you talk about how you went about building that culture and how you tried to reinforce it? And, and maybe also the challenges with it as we get bigger? Because we’re 400 people now, right?
Marcin Cichon 15:24
Yeah, you’re right. And yeah, absolutely. I mean, customer centricity. Everybody talks about this. But in most of the cases, it’s nothing but you know, a marketing slogan. And being really, truly customer centric is a challenge. And it’s really not easy.
And we actually really declared customer centricity to be one of the founding principles of Pricefx. And we were really, in fact, the first vendor in our industry that based their entire commercial model, on customer loyalty.
And that’s exactly what I just said before about the company I mentioned before. And there was just one of the examples. It’s like, you want to be in business with us, fine, do it as long as you’re happy, if you’re not happy, you’re free to go, right, we’re not going to bind you with anything else than your happiness, your satisfaction, and your loyalty.
And that’s what we really do with it from the very beginning. That’s why our commercial approach and legal framework are designed entirely around exactly that you’re happy you say, you have a value with us, you stay you’re not, you’re free to go. And we actually will help you to migrate to another solution. And another expression of our customer centric approach was that we base all of our quarter of our innovation from the very beginning on this concept, and we called “Relevant R&D, and another one which is called “Good Karma Exchange“.
You’re probably gonna be laughing or your listeners will be laughing, what the hell was I smoking before having this interview with you? But it’s true. It’s not because my wife is Asian. And I kind of have a lot of attention and sympathy for Asian culture. But we really did establish exactly that concept. So that Relevant R&D, what this was about is let’s not be the guys who are trying to outsmart the market and outsmart our customers. Let’s not be the guys who walk into the room polished and suit and tied.
And first thing they tell the customer is like, Excel sucks. And what you do today may not be the best thing, try us, right? We tell you how these things go. And we tell you what is the next big thing, we are reinventing the future. Maybe that’s sexy, and it’s kind of cool. But this is not us. We never wanted to be those guys, we were wearing t shirts from the beginning, we walked into the room. And first thing we did, we listened. And we listened very carefully. And with the assumption that what the customer does, must be good, because they are successful, they are in business 10 times longer than we are.
So, what they do must be making sense, they might have challenges. But in the core of what they do, they are successful. So we listen to those challenges and everything what we could fulfill already existing functionality, it worked. Everything that was new, and was making sense, to us and to them, we took into our product roadmap. And we were delivering this back to the customers at the speed of light.
And believe it or not, I mean, you joined the company, I believe in 2015, you know, between 2013 and 15/16, we had a release schedule that was actually every two months. So we’ve been releasing major releases every two, three months. And most of them were packed with innovation coming from our customers. So we were taking the requests, the needs from our customers, and also partners. And if they were making sense, in agreement with them, we were putting them into our platform, delivering it back to them. And that was the relevant R&D, we only delivered things that really make sense that deliver value that are of relevance to our customers. And that also created this good karma exchange that we told them, Listen, this is good stuff, we will do it for you, we will generalize it, we will deliver it as a very generic platform capability that will not compromise any of your intellectual property, means the way how you particular do it, this particular thing, but you will be able to configure this through the configuration layer to your liking, without compromising IP, and you’re going to get this for free.
So, this is going to the product, you don’t pay a cent for this, it’s all available to you. But because it’s valuable, we want to also make it available to others. And that was the good karma exchange, you give and take. And the combination of relevant R&D and a good karmic change, one of the aspects that made us so customer centric, and then the last thing is at the inception we declared Pricefx to be bullshit free zone. And I think people really liked it.
You’re Now Entering a Bullsh*t-Free Zone
Gabe Smith 19:30
Talk about the “bullshit free”, I know we’ve had a lot of conversations about that. And there’s differences in culture and you know where you could use that and not, we kind of stopped using it. I actually really liked it, but some of the salespeople here were like “Well, I can’t go into this environment and say that!” But do you remember when you came up with that and what was behind it?
Marcin Cichon 19:50
It came up inside of over a year before testing or creating, co-founding Pricefx. I was working my entire career in the software industry and somehow one way or the other always involved in sales process. And I am not very proud of this. But I was in my past, overselling, and under delivering, and that’s what I call bullshit, that we’ve been telling or promising more than we were able to deliver just for the sake to make the business and to close the deal to get the signature on the dotted line, that frustrated the hell out of me.
And then when I freed myself out of this, and took a chance to co–found and co create Pricefx. I said from the very beginning, let this be a bullshit-free zone, no lies no over promising no overselling absolute blunt truth, if that leads us to losing the business, not closing the deal. So be it. Let’s not deal with the consequences of not being true. And I think people really liked it, they liked being painfully honest, and just not over committing, over promise.
And what you rightfully said that we had to kind of abandon this officially, which, although initially this is still part of our culture, was when we moved to us. It’s amazing that in America, where every second word is the F word, you know, you cannot say on the homepage that, our slogan was working with Pricefx, is working in a bullshit free zone. And we had it on the homepage for years. And when we moved to America, we had to remove it from the homepage. And that’s kind of how it became more of a under the radar, internal slogan and internal part of the culture.
Gabe Smith 21:19
I think a couple things that you said there, you know, really reinforce it, right? When you talk about the flexibility and the commercial friendliness of the way that we do business, right, there’s really no reason for us to tell a customer that we can do something we can’t do because there’s nothing binding them to us other than providing value and actually delivering the things that we say we can do.
Marcin Cichon 21:38
We are allowing every customer to terminate their agreement no matter how long they committed to us, at convenience. They don’t want it, they can terminate at convenience, none of our competitors allows this, everything is based on good cost.
Gabe Smith 21:51
And I also think customer centricity is key. But the thing that I think Pricefx has gotten right is the combination of the customer centricity with what you talked about with the partner exchange platform, with being able to deliver that functionality and those capabilities in a way that’s market relevant and can be leveraged by other customers in other industries.
I oftentimes talk about different features and functionalities or capabilities that we developed for one specific use case. But we did them in a way that were broad enough to use in a completely different industry, for a completely different use case. Like dynamic pricing, we came up with for retail digital commerce use cases, right. But then you can leverage that same capability in index-based pricing for process industries, if you have been through this. And I think that kind of architecture and that kind of foresight, and the way that the system is built, really comes from those experiences of understanding, okay, maybe in the past, this has been delivered in a way that’s too narrow, or that you just said no to a customer, but really thinking about not only what the customer needs, but what the market needs, and how that can be leveraged by other customers.
That’s really, I think the key of building a great software company, as opposed to some of the companies in our industry operate more as like consulting companies with some software than actual software companies. It’s true. And I think you know, because you’ve seen the inside of both. And I think that’s one of the things that at Pricefx, we’ve always been very careful to draw that line and say, “Hey, guys, we’re a software company. And we’re, and we’re going to grow through our partner ecosystem, and allow them to provide those consulting services on top and start to innovate, as well.” Now, with some of the stuff that’s coming out with Bain and some of our other partners, I think it’s really exciting.
Pee Your Pants Innovation
Let’s talk a little bit about innovation. I remember one of the early stories that you told very early on, I don’t know if you tell the story anymore, was that there was a certain product innovation that made you so excited, I want you to put it in your own words, though, that would be a good place to start. And I also think about generally, the innovation and how that’s a differentiator for us and some of the recent innovations that excite you.
Marcin Cichon 23:54
Sure, yeah, I know where you were heading, Gabe, you just do know too much about me. And you know, I can’t hide anything. So yes, there was this thing going on in the company for a very long time that when we innovate, and we bring some really cool innovation, we call it “Marcin Almost Peeing His Pants”, right. And, you know, this expression, but it is true that in a very early stage, I think it was like three, four months after inception, our CTO and my fellow co-founder, Christian, has been left home alone without family, he’s very much a family guy.
So I guess he must have been frustrated to hell and, and he decided that it’s time to spend this time on something really useful. And he came up with something that we’ve been debating for a very long time. And you know, this Gabe, you know, you’ve been in this space for a long time. It’s like one of the key challenges that companies implementing pricing solutions or any solutions of any broader sense in the business is that integration of data and data cleanness and availability is such a waste of time and it’s such a huge challenge and some companies are giving up projects because they can’t deal with the integration of data, and we knew this from the past, especially from the generation one vendors. And we knew we have to resolve this problem. If we resolve this problem, we’re going to make a breakthrough.
And we’ve been thinking about this, how to get our hands around this. And we came up with two ideas. And one was, listen, what is the application in the industry that is the most adopted, accepted and widely-used business application on the planet? It’s Microsoft Excel. And what are the key attributes of Microsoft Excel? Why is it so popular? Well, it’s intuitive, it’s easy to use, and it’s friendly. It’s very, very flexible. It has a ton of disadvantages, let’s not get there. It sucks in many, many aspects. And especially it cannot be used as a business application. But everybody who doesn’t have a business application uses it because it comes as close to it as only possible. And it is very flexible. So it’s a very long introduction to this innovation.
But what happened is that Christian thought this through and said, “Why don’t we replace our front end”, because we’ve been building the architecture of the application to be very flexible with the back end functionality of the platform, and front end functionality that can connect to the back end through a very open API and can be replaced by any type of front end. He said, “Why don’t we bring those two together, and try to provide an alternative UI to our platform that will be a Microsoft Excel.”
And he spent a weekend on this, he built some special plugin and some special functionality that could be injected to the normal Microsoft Excel installed on your laptop. And with this injection, it was turning it into the front end, connecting to our backend, establishing the connection, safe connection, and allowing you to exchange data between the back end and Microsoft Excel while protecting all of the metadata definitions, which means all the tables, all the columns, all the columns’ names, the way the sequence of the columns, and so on so forth, we were able to transport them back and forth, and interact with the backend through the actual front end.
And we call it the Excel client. And on Sunday evening, when Chris was done with the first prototype, he actually showed this to me and to Martin, the other co-founder, and I completely freaked out. He just opened it up, he was able to access the data, modify them, add formulas, into the Excel front end, which modify the data, and was updating the data in the backend, and was able to show us how you can copy and paste from any CSV file or another Excel, hundreds of 1000s of rows of data. And just with one click, get them updated into the backend. And with this create a proof of concept or pilot environment within a couple of days, which before was taking months, I just freaked out and I screamed out. And I told him afterwards that I was so happy that I almost peed in my pants. And that’s how this whole thing stayed with us.
Gabe Smith 27:49
That’s a great story. And I think it talks about innovation, but also the flexibility and how we’ve really taken a pragmatic approach and not when we’re dictating what the right way is. But we’re looking at how people are actually using software, how they’re using other applications, maybe around the software, and how to really embrace that flexibility that Excel brings, but then fix some of the issues with it like data cleansing and workflow and integration and these kind of things.
Marcin Cichon 28:13
I forgot to answer the second part of the questions. I mean, we bring per year, at least two or three completely brand new products that are expanding the footprint of our solution and our functionality. It’s mind blowing. And it’s really hard to say which of those innovations are my favorite because there’s so much. But just last year, if you would just go through the list, and we brought very early in the year to channel management or the shipping debit functionality as a brand new module for the expansion to our platform capability.
Just a few months later, we acquired a nominal AI company Brennus Analytics in France, which we managed to fully integrate into the stack of our technology within less than seven months and brought it to market as a generally available solution in November. We brought to the market Velo, a new completely new set of functionality that allows customers to manage the large deal negotiation, utilizing the value estimation approach, the VE approach, something that is not existing in our industry. So it’s something that’s absolutely new. And I’m convinced it’s going to be a breakthrough not only for us, but also for our customers who are actually adopting this functionality as we speak. And that has been introduced to the market only in November last year. So just kind of counting those three or four. It’s a massive amount of innovation.
And actually today, we are generally launching Pricefx Plasma that has been born as a part of our second financing round where Bain & Company, one of the three top-tier consulting companies in the world, became our strategic partner and investor. They actually call invested in the series C round in end of 2017. And with them together we started designing and developing and building a brand new benchmarking capability that’s not existing in the industry. And it’s allowing any of our customers who get access to the big data that is managed currently on the Pricefx platform, where our customers are committing data to the pool, which is anonymized, aggregated, option double-anonymized, it’s going through a very sophisticated massaging and changing and mapping.
And it’s being enriched with data that is coming from Bain & Company and it’s delivered back to our customers into their analytical applications, to allow them to benchmark themselves against peers or similar sized companies or companies in the same industry, or companies facing similar challenges. For example, price realization or quoting processing, how long does it take to process a quote? How many approval steps do you take or other companies and how do you compare? Maybe you are having too many steps in the process. And maybe that slows you down with releasing your quotes to the market and realizing the value from your customers. There is multiplicity of different benchmarks and dashboards that we are offering. And this is absolutely unique. So, today is the day, today, we announced it, if you’re interested, go check it out on LinkedIn or our homepage or anywhere else. It’s absolutely unique functionality. And it’s going to be a game changer in the industry. I’m absolutely convinced about this.
Gabe Smith 31:07
All right. Well, thank you very much, Marcin.
Marcin Cichon 31:08
Many. Thanks for having me, Gabe.
Gabe Smith 31:11
And thank you all for tuning into Pricing Matters.