From The Trenches: Interview with Howard Brown, CEO at ringDNA

From The Trenches: Interview with Howard Brown, CEO at ringDNA


Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Los Angeles, ringDNA is is an AI-powered sales enablement platform.  Through their proprietary algorithm, they assist in businesses’ efforts in scaling growth with the help of AI, enabled over a billion customer interactions for customers like Twilio, AWS, and HPE.  They offer different solutions based on the industry and segment and they also provide services based on functions and need.

As its name might suggest, however, its products are primarily voiced call-centric. Their primary offerings are their Intelligent Dialer, sales playbook automation, conversation AI, and Inbound Call Tracking. With these, clients can get lead prioritization and high-velocity dialing, real-time AI-powered metrics and smart analytics, sales email automation, as well as CRM data capture. It’s designed to make voice call operations more effective, result-driven, and informative. We think ringDNA can really help drive more customer engagement that will lead to a sale.

Meet Howard Brown, CEO at ringDNA, a Revenue Acceleration Platform That Helps Businesses Scale Growth Through AI

So, we set out to get to know the brain behind the operation at ringDNA. We interviewed the CEO at ringDNA, Howard Brown, to see what it’s all about.

LA Startups (LAS): What is ringDNA, and how did you come up with the idea?

Howard Brown - ringDNAHoward Brown (HB): ringDNA is an AI-powered sales enablement platform that helps businesses scale revenue growth by making teams more productive and effective. Prior to starting ringDNA, I created and sold two companies and worked as a consultant to some large SaaS companies. Overall, I noticed one common thread: sales managers and reps didn’t know where to focus their time to make the biggest revenue impact. Sales reps with large territories didn’t know who to contact, when, or how and what to say. Managers didn’t know which reps needed training or coaching until it was too late. In order to know where to focus, you first have to get teams using a tool that shows more than activity data. Teams need historical engagement data, behavioral data, intent data, and more.

LAS: What’s the problem you are trying to solve?

HB: In a world swimming with data, sales teams don’t know where to focus. We deliver AI-powered guidance, insights and tools for sellers, managers and revenue leaders. When we do that, we transform sales teams into high-performing revenue machines.

LAS: What is ringDNA providing that is unique to market and to new businesses?

HB: We provide sales guidance. Yes, we automate certain processes to make teams more productive. But using AI to make sales reps better performers is what makes us unique. Insights from over a billion sales interactions across our platform help every rep sell like an expert. If a rep is on a call with a customer, ringDNA can provide real-time guidance that will move deals forward. For example, if that rep is talking too much, ringDNA will nudge them to slow down and ask a meaningful question. For managers, we surface coachable moments from all the conversations teams are having to prioritize a rep that may be struggling.

LAS: How is this pandemic affecting the way your organization operates?

HB: We may be remote, but we are very much united. ringDNA supports customers who manage remote teams across five continents, so remote work is just a part of who we are. We all miss seeing each other in the office, but fortunately, we can use our own solutions to remain incredibly productive.

LAS: How do we keep our company culture alive during the pandemic?

HB: ringDNA has hired dozens of new employees in 2020, and many of them have never set foot in the office. In light of this, our operations team has done an amazing job of keeping spirits high and people engaged. We’ve had spirit weeks, organized all-hands events, informal remote hangouts, fireside chats, contests, and more. I’m grateful and amazed at what has been accomplished without bringing together in person. Also, one of our core values is authenticity, allowing everyone to bring their entire selves to work. In honor of that, we encouraged employees to share more about what makes them unique. They’ve shared photos of their work-from-home setup to the ways they unwind. I was touched by how to open our employees were in sharing bits and pieces of their lives to feel closer.

LAS: What Big Hairy Audacious Goals do you have for ringDNA moving forward?

HB: Beyond making every sales team successful, we want to foster great buying and selling experiences worldwide. When it comes to large considered purchases, buying experiences are notoriously terrible. But assisting in smarter communications and genuine empathy between buyers and sellers makes a huge difference.

LAS: Tell us a good story about how you personally started – maybe one of your early struggles and how you overcame that challenge? A ‘From the Trenches’ type of story that you may not have thought you would survive.

HB: When I created my first startup, I was solving a complex marketplace issue, which was connecting those who needed behavioral healthcare resources, support, or treatment with those who could provide those services. While we initially sourced enlisted providers in our service to build their practices and deliver better care, attracting patients seeking care was far more challenging. As a startup, I couldn’t afford to spend the kind of dollars necessary to advertise the services my providers offered. So we empowered the therapists to create original content which we aggregated across hundreds of different web properties, ultimately resulting in the largest collection of behavioral healthcare resources across the internet. This led to huge volumes of consumer traffic from people struggling with behavioral health conditions and seeking resources and treatment.

LAS: Tell us about a book or something else you’ve found inspiration in business?

HB: I’m inspired by the work of the Takeoff Institute, which is on a mission to democratize resources, mentorship, and financial literacy for the Black undergraduate population. The group’s brilliant founder and CEO, Brian Hollins, is an inspiration to me and to ringDNA.

LAS: What Big Piece of Advice would you give to new entrepreneurs who are looking to start a startup?

HB: Solve a problem that creates real value. Make sure your vision will enable people to discover a better version of themselves and achieve real change.

LAS: Any last words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

HB: Focus, be authentic and if you fail, fail fast. Above all, persevere.

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