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Startup Life: Not as Glamorous as it Looks

A Slice on Rebecca Clyde, Co-Founder and CEO of Botco.ai

Rebecca Clyde is not your typical CEO. A native Costa Rican raised throughout Latin America, Clyde relocated to the U.S., where she would later become one of 2020’s most influential women in Arizona. Clyde is currently CEO of Botco.ai, a company she co-founded in 2018 that serves as an intelligent chat solution that instantly answers patient questions. Using Botco.ai, providers can automate conversations, capture 103% more appointments, and access conversational insights that improve the patient experience.

Clyde attended a Girls in Tech conference in Arizona, where she met her co-founder, Anu Shukla. With Shukla’s background in technology and marketing, they were ready to disrupt the tech industry together. Botco.ai began as a remote-first team, all the founders were located in different cities, which raised the eyebrows of potential investors. Clyde was told they’d never make it, and that a remote founding team would not be successful. However, she and her team “pressed forward despite all the naysayers” and now Botco.ai boasts over 2.2 million dollars of funding within its first seed stage.

Prior to founding Botco.ai, Clyde started her career as a marketing professional at Intel, where she led over 50 global product launches and created a demand generation practice at the company. Additionally, she co-founded Ideas Collide, a marketing automation agency now in its 15th year serving Fortune 500 companies. Having spent 11 years with Ideas Collide, she was equipped to face the inevitable challenges that would arise while building Botco.ai.

“Entrepreneurship and leadership are not as glamorous as it looks from the outside and it will challenge us in ways we never imagined.”

In an early experience with fundraising, she described a memorable encounter with a venture capital firm. “The investor told me I was ‘too early’ for his seed-stage portfolio and needed to have more than 20 paying customers. He then turned around and funded a startup pre-product and pre-revenue. It was clear to me that there was a double standard at play.” Rather than taking the rejection personally, Clyde learned from the experience and searched for investors better aligned with her vision. She also sought guidance from mentors within the Arizona startup ecosystem.

Well-known within the local business community, she had already built a positive reputation. Though it wasn’t smooth sailing, “doing a startup is never easy, it requires more than just pulling off a great pitch, but also showing traction and results. When one customer turned into two and then eventually five, then 10, the fundraising momentum certainly picked up.” Having positive fundraising results, Clyde took a leap and looked for opportunities from investors outside of the local Arizona community, in startup hotspots such as the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and New York.

Right as the wheels began to turn, COVID-19 struck the entire world. Panicked, as most fledgling startups were back in March of 2020, Clyde feared it may be the end of Botco.ai as she watched the pipeline “dry up”, which she described as “gut-wrenching”. However, since her team was already accustomed to remote work life, they were able to skip the chaotic adjustment period other companies were experiencing. This enabled them to quickly turn their focus to the scrambling healthcare industry. “The moment had arrived for healthcare workers to step up and they needed a partner like us to take them through the pandemic.” Healthcare workers can use Botco.ai to more efficiently help patients, which is especially important in an industry where delays can be life-or-death. Being able to help the people who dedicate themselves to saving lives was an honor for Clyde and her team.

A year later, after the dust from COVID-19 has begun to settle, Clyde continues to serve the healthcare industry and families alike. Understanding that women like herself have busy lives (working, taking care of children, managing household activities) her goal is to provide a way to take some of the load off. Though it’s hard work, Clyde likens the experience to that of gardening, “We had invested in good soil and planted seeds, and inevitably they would come to fruition… success is not a destination, it’s just a series of events after a lot of incredibly hard work, failed attempts and determination.”

Founder Bio

Rebecca Clyde is originally from Costa Rica, but relocated to the U.S. to attend Arizona State University. She then went on to start her career at Intel, later becoming an entrepreneur when she co-founded Ideas Collide and Botco.ai. Connect with Clyde on LinkedIn.


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