Okapi (YC W24) – A new, flexible CRM with good UX

Hi HN!

We’re Ulysse and Ned from Okapi. We’re making a modern CRM. It's kind of like if Airtable/Notion built Salesforce today. https://okapicrm.com

When I was fresh out of college, working for startups, Salesforce was this big mystery to me. It's the perpetual second screen for everyone in sales. They were building this gigantic obelisk downtown. What was this thing? And why did every salesperson I knew seem to live in it all day, and yet hate it so much?

Turns out Salesforce is basically PhpMyAdmin for salespeople. It's just basically two things:

1. A really generic database, and a UI for CRUDing your data.

2. An API and ecosystem of integrations.

In other words, it's the back-office CRUD app to end all back-office CRUD apps. People call the result a "CRM" (Customer Relationship Management).

Salesforce is slow and clunky. And that doesn’t matter because people don’t buy Salesforce to be delighted. They buy Salesforce to avoid being screwed over.

SObjects are how Salesforce does that. It’s the best idea Salesforce ever had: make everything in your product be built upon a generic data layer that your users can configure. Just like how you can add a new sheet or column in a spreadsheet, in Salesforce you can add new objects and fields. You can CRUD, report on, and do automations on top of custom data in exactly the same way you do it for built-in data.

The graveyard of wannabe Salesforces is littered with people who forgot about this key insight.

We think the way you win in CRM in 2024 is by keeping the flexibility of SObjects, and then tacking on modern UX. That first part takes engineering discipline, but the second part is much easier than Salesforce had it 25 years ago. Just about every part of a modern SaaS product has dozens of vendors that do most of the work for you.

We're really excited to get feedback from HN on what we have. Here’s a video demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uRBf_9CRyM - and you can try it yourself:


Email: [email protected]

Password: sk9ueEAfhXP9j4cuxLCVmw7.

You can test out our email integration, send an email to: [email protected]

And see that email (up to ~10min latency): https://app.okapicrm.com/objects/emails/records

We’re very eager for your honest feedback. What do you think we're missing? One thing we can’t decide if it’s a need-to-have is Apex -- is having in-transaction custom scripting really necessary for a CRM? Or is that just something they tacked on as Salesforce became more of an app platform and less of a focused CRM product?

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov