Dallas’ Krista Software Announces New Chief Executive Officer

With new CEO Michael Haske at the helm, the company is poised for its next chapter of innovation and expansion, Krista founder John Michelson says. Under his guidance as CEO, the Dallas-based AI firm has grown from "concept to a reality": Today, the company has "five-, six-, and seven-figure annual contract value transactions," according to the founder.

Industry veteran Michael Haske has joined Krista Software as chief executive officer of the Dallas-based conversational AI and digital process automation firm.

Haske previously was president and chief operating officer at Paylocity and was CEO of Aircall. He will succeed Krista co-founder and CEO John Michelsen, who founded Krista in 2020 and has led the global company from digital process pioneer to a mainstay in AI integration platform as a service.

“Michael not only brings the right experience and leadership to accelerate Krista’s global momentum, but he also deeply understands the importance of cultivating a diverse, employee-centric culture. I am very proud of the hard work and success the Krista team has delivered so far and am confident of the path the company is on to deliver the future of AI to enterprises across the globe,” Michelsen said in a statement.

Why founder sought to replace himself as CEO

Michelsen will remain on the company’s board and continue to serve as chief product officer to the company.

“I’ll be our CPO to fully support Michael and our whole team,” Michelson said on his LinkedIn page. “You can’t imagine how excited I am to be 100% focused on continuing the journey for Krista as groundbreaking tech.”

On LinkedIn, Michelson said, “As we raised Krista from an ‘Is that even feasible?’ concept to a reality, my mission has been product/market fit. With customers of every size; five, six, and seven-figure [annual contract value] transactions, and worldwide traction; we are there.”

Michelson emphasized the importance of recognizing one’s strengths and limitations, adding, “I’m a firm believer in staying in my lane. I want to ensure that Krista can grow beyond the vision of just one individual.”

Krista said that Haske joins Krista at a pivotal time because it recently secured several prestigious contracts and continues to expand globally.

‘Leading this chapter of growth’

Haske brings three decades of experience in scaling high-growth, cloud-based software businesses and will continue to drive Krista’s innovation in the artificial intelligence space and digital process automation, furthering the company’s mission to create technology that understands people.

Most recently, Haske was CEO of cloud communications company Aircall, and before that, he was president and chief operating officer of cloud-based payroll and human resources software company Paylocity, where he led that company’s growth from 100 employees and $15 million in revenue to 5,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue.

“I am excited to join Krista on its exciting journey and build on the strong foundation that the team has created. I look forward to leading this chapter of growth for Krista, as we provide the next generation of AI solutions for enterprise companies globally. It will be an honor to work with our employees to make it one the best places to work while delivering world-class innovation for our clients,” Haske said in a statement.

Recent collaborations

Krista Software develops the AI integration platform as a service Krista, which enables companies to orchestrate processes across people, apps, and AI.

It provides a natural language processing based iPaaS to help companies integrate any AI into processes to improve business outcomes.

Zimperium, a Dallas-based mobile security firm, recently collaborated with Krista. Krista’s automation platform integrates with IBM Watson’s Natural Language Processing (NLP, which has pre-trained AI models, that gave Zimperium an opportunity to refine its operations without building a dedicated AI infrastructure, according to a news release.

The project offers a practical illustration of Krista’s benefits. Zimperium was able to reduce a software deployment process that once took over four hours to minutes, a significant operational improvement given the company’s extensive software environments, according to an IBM blog post. Financially, the operational automation was advantageous for Zimperium, with reported savings exceeding $200,000.

It frees security platform’s developers to zero in on their core mandate: building secure software, IBM writes.

The companies are reportedly exploring further collaboration, with plans to delve deeper into IBM Watson’s capabilities and the potential benefits of IBM’s forthcoming AI and data platforms. In June, an IBM blog post noted Krista is set to use IBM Watson to enhance Zimperium’s order-to-cash process and automate its international customer support.

On the money

Last year, we told you about how Krista Software announced a $15 million funding round led by Denver’s Grotech Ventures.

“Our customers build automated businesses and transform them using machine learning that they didn’t imagine was possible,” Michelsen said at the time. “Krista enables them to do this in minutes instead of waiting months and accelerates innovation.”

The raise was joined by early-stage firm Rally Ventures and Oregon software firm iGrafx. According to Crunchbase, the new money brought Krista’s total to more than $20.5 million, following a $4.6 million seed round in 2019 led by Rally and a $1 million pre-seed round in 2016—the same year the company was founded.

The company has offices in Dallas and Pune, India.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T