Falon Fatemi knew that the professional connections she facilitated throughout her career were valuable--so much, in fact, that she created a company to introduce people or businesses to useful resources at the perfect time.
Node, the startup Fatemi founded in 2015, aims to change information discovery by using artificial intelligence technology. Her company emerged from its stealth status on Tuesday and announced that it had raised $16.3 million from investors such as Mark Cuban, Avalon Ventures, and Canaan Partners.
Fatemi, a Silicon Valley native, began her career at Google as a financial analyst for global strategic partnerships when she was just 19. At the time, she was the company's youngest employee. She left the media giant after six years, but continued to work at startups, specializing in global expansion and building strategic partnerships. The more connections Fatemi made, the more she realized that she was acting as the node--or the center point--within her network. That inspired to create a company that would do the work she was facilitating.
"I realized there's actually a bigger search and discovery problem that I was solving at a much smaller scale within my network," says Fatemi, 31, who is also the CEO of Node. "But what if we could actually apply technology to almost accelerate serendipity at scale?"
Fatemi was the only employee when she launched Node. Now, the company has 22 full-time staffers and is working on its first application, designed to facilitate customer discovery for sales and marketing teams. Node uses proprietary A.I. technology to help people and companies connect with strategic resources at advantageous times. For example, a sales representative using Node would receive a recommendation to contact a specific person and details as to why that individual would be a strong connection right now.
Fatemi wants to expand Node at some point in the future, but has no clear timeline on when that will happen. Currently, Node is working with customers including Periscope Data, BlueJeans Network, and Pagerduty. Fatemi hopes to use the funding to double the size of Node's staff and increase the number of customers. While she claims Node has no other direct competitors, she said company rivals might be data vendors or predictive solutions in the sales and marketing industry. Node did not disclose any information on its revenues.
"At the end of the day, connecting to the right people, as an entrepreneur, as an individual, that's what results in life-changing opportunities," says Fatemi. "We are going to be able to discover and uncover things, people, companies, opportunities that we never even realized were out there."
It was in 2011 when Fatemi met Cuban through a mutual friend. She calls him "one of the most incredible partners you can have for your business." It also helps that Cuban believes artificial intelligence will be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs. "I am telling you, the world's first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters A.I. and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of," Cuban said at the SXSW Conference in March.
"We're certainly dreaming big here," Fatemi says when asked if she hoped to be the first trillionaire from her A.I.-based company. "And go big or go home is kind of how we look at it."