This startup founder who left Google to found an AI startup, just sold her company to Cisco for $270 million
Amy Chang was former head of analytics at Google from July 2005 to November 2012. She was just two levels removed from Larry Page and the C-suite. She later left the search giant to found her own AI-based digital personal assistant startup company, Accompany. At inception, the basic premise behind Accompany is an app that makes it easy to prep for meetings. For all events scheduled on a calendar, the app compiles a digital dossiers of attendees and their companies. Accompany’s product was initially targeted at executives. Chang likened the product to a digital chief of staff or personal assistant, giving executives the insight they need before meetings.
Now Accompany has grown to be the richest database of senior decision makers in the world. Accompany has comprehensive, real-time profiles for every single Fortune 500 CEO. Its AI-driven database provides rich, relevant insights for millions of people and companies, so you can always find the right people and build stronger relationships. The company now provides an AI-driven relationship intelligence platform for finding new prospects, navigating the selling process, and strengthening relationships.
Yesterday, Cisco announced its acquiring Accompany for $270 million in cash and assumed equity awards. As part of the acquisition, the Accompany team will join the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group under Chang’s leadership. The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco’s fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, following customary closing conditions. In addition, Accompany Founder and CEO Amy Chang, will join Cisco as senior vice president in charge of the Collaboration Technology Group.
Prior to joining Google, Ms. Chang held product management and strategy positions at eBay Inc. from May 2003 to June 2005. She also previously served as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, specializing in semiconductors, software and services. Ms. Chang also currently serves on the board of directors of Splunk Inc. She previously served as a director of Informatica Corporation, ending in 2015.
“The acquisition of Accompany will enable Cisco to take collaboration to the next level with even more intelligence. Accompany’s AI technology and talent will help Cisco accelerate priority areas across its collaboration portfolio, such as providing user and company profile data in Webex meetings. Together, Cisco and Accompany will continue to power the future of work in a smarter way to enhance customer experiences,” Cisco said in a press release.
“Amy has proven to be an effective and innovative leader through her years as an entrepreneur, an engineer, and CEO, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have her and the Accompany team join Cisco,” said Chuck Robbins, Cisco chairman and CEO. “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to further enhance AI and machine learning capabilities in our collaboration portfolio and continue to create amazing collaboration experiences for customers.”
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to join Cisco and the industry’s leading collaboration team,” said Amy Chang, Accompany founder and CEO. “Enterprise applications are rapidly becoming more intelligent and augmented with data and pertinent information in real-time. By combining Accompany’s relationship intelligence capability with Cisco’s award-winning collaboration product portfolio, customers will be able to more intelligently collaborate with employees, customers and partners.”
Rowan Trollope, current senior vice president and general manager of the Collaboration Technology Group is taking the next step in his career and leaving Cisco to become CEO at another company effective May 3. Chang, who has served as a member of Cisco’s Board of Directors since October 2016, has in conjunction with the transaction resigned from the Cisco Board of Directors effective immediately.