“If there’s an app for everything, why isn’t everything perfect yet?”
That’s the question that prompted Francis Pedraza to explore the complex world of technology solutions.
Every day, technology gets more and more powerful. Yet, the average knowledge worker spends about 41% of their time doing work that could be done for them, inferring that people are still more slaves to technology than masters of it. That’s why Francis formed Invisible Technologies, a powerful bot that acts as a virtual assistant that professionals can delegate lights-on tasks to.
I got the chance to sit down with Francis as part of our Tech Stack Chat series and pick his brain on the pitfalls of work and technology, what goes on behind the scenes at Invisible, and how the company uses its own technology to scale the business.
Watch the full interview or read the highlights below.
How did you come up with the idea for Invisible?
I asked my start-up friends to share their business ideas with me that they never had time to cultivate. Over the course of a year, I published hundreds and hundreds of ideas across different tech categories and industries.
One of the patterns that emerged was that the biggest problem in the world was, ironically, solutions. So what’s the solution for that?
I found the answer to this mystery in a deceased economist named Ronald Coase, who said that it’s not so much about supply and demand, but the friction between the two.
Solutions have up to 12 different frictional costs, including usage costs, integration costs, discovery costs, and switching costs. In response, we could:
- Use AI (but the technology still isn’t advanced enough to do any actually work).
- Explore robotic process automation (RPA), which targets large departments to increase efficiency (but isn’t really applicable for the masses).
- Tap into tech enabled services to hire cheap labor across the globe (but doesn’t really scale well enough to actually save you any time).
Invisible blends these three approaches with a bot and a “digital assembly line” to coordinate the labor. We’ve built hundreds of processes with step-by-step instructions so that the people we hire can do the job, but you just interact with the bot. It’s like RPA for the masses.
How does Invisible help marketing teams and other teams across the company?
We actually use Invisible for our own marketing, which has allowed us to build a bunch of processes that help our clients with lead generation.
We can do the research to find the right people (for example, “every pet store in Austin, TX”) and generate leads on LinkedIn or any database on the internet, making us more economical than almost any other lead gen solution. From there, we target people in specific roles, send them an email with the various processes we’ve found that apply to their job, and offer them credit toward a free trial to prove Invisible is worthwhile. We can do that for other marketers and actually help all the way through the funnel, getting MQLs through the door and keeping costs down so they don’t have to spend high CPAs on Google and Facebook.
From there, all of these meetings come through to the salesperson. But they end up spending half their time doing accounting and only half their time doing actual sales. So we can help with all the CRM input, compiling the briefing documents, and determining next steps so sales can focus on closing the deal. Invisible can actually help almost every team in the company.
So you use your own product internally. How do you use technology to scale the business?
Our biggest team is our operations team. We have about 100 people around the world, plus 25 partners and 75 agents across 16 countries and they use ForestAdmin for analytics.
We used to build software on top of other tools like Slack, but now we have our own software called Digital Assembly Line 2.0.
We’re also working on a client web app, which launches next month and will enable customers to log in and see their information or email with the bot. Our growth team uses tools off-the-shelf like Hubspot for CRM, which then works with Google Calendar to set up onboarding calls. Then, finance uses Stripe, Zero, and Tableau to help manage the different currencies and payroll amounts in various countries, while relying on automation to coordinate between their team and operations. HR uses Breezy for applicant tracking and we’re also about to sign a contract for a new training system.
In our productivity suite, we use Asana for project management and tracking, while G Suite powers the actual doing. Invisible is the layer on top of everything, allowing everyone to focus on the right work and live up to their full potential.
The Invisible Stack
CRM Hubspot Productivity Invisible, G Suite, Slack, Asana Finance Stripe, Zero, Tableau HR Breezy (applicant tracking), training software (coming soon!) Lead generation Invisible Analytics ForestAdmin
Check out the full video interview.
Watch the full interview to hear more of Francis’ perspectives on Coasean friction and why the target audience for Invisible includes the most stressed out and overworked people on your team.