Taloflow puts AI to work on software vendor selection to reduce costs and save time

Every company, large or small, needs to choose software, and the bigger the company, the more complex the exercise. Some have internal tools and processes to help narrow down the list of possible vendors and eventually make a selection. Others use firms like Gartner or G2 to help guide them through the process.

Taloflow, an early-stage startup and Y Combinator alum, thinks it has come up with a better, software-driven way to help companies choose software by reducing the time to decision and lowering the overall cost of the process. On Wednesday, the company said it has raised a $1.3 million seed round and that it was releasing its AI-driven collaborative notebooks, which let its customers build custom software evaluation reports.

“Taloflow replaces homegrown technology and software selection processes that can last weeks or months,” the startup's CEO and co-founder, Louis-Victor Jadavji, told TechCrunch. “Unlike Gartner or G2, which offer mostly generic insights, Taloflow creates tailored reports for specific use cases,” he said.

The company has created a series of base reports for a number of categories, such as ERP or cloud cost control, leveraging both public information and the help of industry experts. Users can select a category, say cloud cost control, and then narrow it to a more specific subject, such as FinOps, and Taloflow will generate a report in the form of a collaborative notebook.

The basic report is just a starting point, though. The notebook works somewhat like Google Docs, and lets multiple participants edit, comment and change the requirements, as well as assign a weight those requirements in terms of importance. Those weights can have an impact on the final choices.

Taloflow notebook screenshot showing collaborative ability to add comments.
The Taloflow notebook allows multiple users to edit and comment on the report.

The report includes the rationale behind the choices, and it can even generate requests for proposal with the requirements for vendors.

It’s worth noting that AI plays a role in these reports. Taloflow has built large language models (LLMs) that sift through publicly available information and speed up the time and cost of generating the base reports.

The founders, Jadavji and Todd Kesselman (along with Jason Kim, who has since left the company), discovered the need for a solution like this when they were part of the YC Winter 2021 batch. “We interviewed around 70 CTOs and engineering managers, and discovered that decisions regarding tech stacks — such as choosing vendors or deciding between buying or building — were becoming increasingly complex and time-consuming,” Jadavji said.

They learned that such processes were often long, and failed to find solutions that met the organization’s goals and requirements. “We decided to build a product that focuses on the specific needs of enterprises, using LLMs to scale our research, and eventually developing the collaborative notebook.”

The company says it has hundreds of paying customers, including three Fortune 500 companies. It has only five full-time employees so far, but Jadavji says he is hiring, especially analysts.

Today’s funding came from Wonder Ventures, First Check Ventures and a number of industry angels, including founders from Hootsuite, Opendoor and Sacra.