Knock simplifies creating notification workflows

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Notifications may seem like a solved problem. After all, you’re probably already getting more than you want. The two founders of Struck, Sam Seely and Chris Bell, say that while many companies have solved the “last mile delivery problem,” there is still work to be done. While products like Twilio and SendGrid can offer developer-friendly APIs, Knock’s founders believe what’s really needed is a more comprehensive solution combining notification sending with a workflow engine. comprehensive work and integrated observability tools.

THE business, launching in 2021, today announced a $12 million funding round led by Craft Ventures. At the launch, the company also raised an undisclosed $6 million seed round led by Afore Capital. Preface Ventures, Worklife, Expa Ventures, Cofound Partners, and Tokyo Black also invested in these rounds, along with angel investors like Vercel co-founder and CEO Guillermo Rauch and Behance co-founder Scott Belsky .

Image credits: Struck

“Today, if you’re an engineering team for any type of product, whether it’s SaaS tools, developers, or consumer products, there are generic services that used to be built in-house and “You can now access an API to “said Knock CEO Sam Seely. “Now all the best engineers who want to work on payments are going to work at Stripe; and all the best who want to work on research, go to Algolia. I felt like the notification infrastructure part was still what you had to build internally.

Seely and Bell told me they went back to the drawing board to see what a modern notification system would look like and what primitives they needed to build. Ultimately, notifications aren’t a differentiator for most products, but they are a necessity. So if a product like Knock can speed up the development workflow, it’s a win-win.

The real differentiator of Knock is that it not only provides the tools needed to send notifications, but also extracts data from third-party tools which can then trigger the workflow logic that a developer has specified for their case specific use (like translating a message for a global audience, for example).

Image credits: Struck

“We have a complete workflow engine – that’s really the heart of the product,” Seely explained. “This is where you define when a trigger occurs. We call the Knock API, run this workflow, batch the messages at this cadence, throttle them so users don’t get spammed, and then send that message into the app, send that email.

This workflow engine is accessible through a web UI, but as the team pointed out, all of these features are also available programmatically. “One of our top priorities is to take this workflow engine that drives cross-channel engagement and then integrate it into developers’ daily workflow,” Seely said.

Over time, Knock also plans to delve deeper into the area of ​​customer engagement. The team says that every time a new channel emerges, existing players in that space, like SAP’s Exact Target, for example, struggle to catch up.

“Users are tired of the onslaught and waves of emails and push notifications,” Seely said. “These are true native product experiences that drive value for users and help businesses drive engagement and retention – and all the reasons you send notifications in the first place.” To drive native in-app experiences, this is where developer experience is important. And this is where Knock believes it can have a major advantage over the incumbents in this market. Seely noted that while the company often sees competitors like Iterable And Client.io which are often sold to marketers, the secret to this market is that these tools are often primarily used and maintained by engineers.

An interesting aspect of the Knock technology stack: it’s written in the Elixir language, which is not really common. It turns out that Bell has long been very active in this community and even runs a Elixir Podcast. “When I think about fit, in terms of what we’re building and the choice of language, there’s no better application in my mind for using Elixir,” he explained . “What shines is this highly concurrent fault tolerance that it brings. When I think about what we’re doing here, the foundations of Erlang are written for telephone systems, routing calls from one place to another.

The company plans to deploy the new funding to expand its marketing efforts and, of course, also grow its engineering team. Current clients include Vercel, Amplitude, Hiive and Betterworks.

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