Monthly Archives: March 2021

A crypto company’s journey to Data 3.0

Posted by on 16 March, 2021

This post was originally published on this site

Data is a gold mine for a company.

If managed well, it provides the clarity and insights that lead to better decision-making at scale, in addition to an important tool to hold everyone accountable.

However, most companies are stuck in Data 1.0, which means they are leveraging data as a manual and reactive service. Some have started moving to Data 2.0, which employs simple automation to improve team productivity. The complexity of crypto data has opened up new opportunities in data, namely to move to the new frontier of Data 3.0, where you can scale value creation through systematic intelligence and automation. This is our journey to Data 3.0.

Coinbase is neither a finance company nor a tech company — it’s a crypto company. This distinction has big implications for how we work with data. As a crypto company, we work with three major types of data (instead of the usual one or two types of data), each of which is complex and varied:

  1. blockchain: decentralized and publicly available
  2. product: large and real-time
  3. financial: high-precision and subject to many financial/legal/compliance regulations.

Our focus has been on how we can scale value creation by making this varied data work together, eliminating data silos, solving issues before they start and creating opportunities for Coinbase that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Having worked at tech companies like LinkedIn and eBay, and also those in the finance sector, including Capital One, I’ve observed firsthand the evolution from Data 1.0 to Data 3.0. In Data 1.0, data is seen as a reactive function providing ad-hoc manual services or firefighting in urgent situations.

Posted Under: Tech News
Docker nabs $23M Series B as as new developer focus takes shape

Posted by on 16 March, 2021

This post was originally published on this site

It was easy to wonder what would become of Docker after it sold its enterprise business in 2019, but it regrouped last year as a cloud native container company focused on developers, and the new approach appears to be bearing fruit. Today, the company announced a $23 million Series B investment.

Tribe Capital led the round with participation from existing investors Benchmark and Insight Partners. Docker has now raised a total of $58 million including the $35 million investment it landed the same day it announced the deal with Mirantis .

To be sure, the company had a tempestuous 2019 when they changed CEOs twice, sold the enterprise division and looked to reestablish itself with a new strategy. While the pandemic made 2020 a trying time for everyone, Docker CEO Scott Johnston says that in spite of that, the strategy has begun to take shape.

“The results we think speak volumes. Not only was the strategy strong, but the execution of that strategy was strong as well,” Johnston told me. He indicated that the company added 1.7 million new developer registrations for the free version of the product for a total of more 7.3 million registered users on the community edition.

As with any open source project, the goal is to popularize the community project and turn a small percentage of those users into paying customers, but Docker’s problem prior to 2019 had been finding ways to do that. While he didn’t share specific numbers, Johnston indicated that annual recurring revenue (ARR) grew 170% last year, suggesting that they are beginning to convert more successfully.

Johnston says that’s because they have found a way to turn a certain class of developer in spite of a free version being available. “Yes, there’s a lot of upstream open source technologies, and there are users that want to hammer together their own solutions. But we are also seeing these eight-to-ten person ‘two pizza teams’ who want to focus on building applications, and so they’re willing to pay for a service,” he said.

That open source model tends to get the attention of investors because it comes with that built-in action at the top of the sales funnel. Tribe’s Arjun Sethi, whose firm led the investment, says his company actually was a Docker customer before investing in the company and sees a lot more growth potential.

“Tribe focuses on identifying N-of-1 companies — top-decile private tech firms that are exhibiting inflection points in their growth, with the potential to scale towards outsized outcomes with long-term venture capital. Docker fits squarely into this investment thesis[…],” Sethi said in a statement.

Johnston says as they look ahead to post-pandemic, he’s learned a lot since his team move out of the office last year. After surveying employees, they were surprised to learn that most have been happier working at home, having more time to spend with family, while taking away a grueling commute. As a result, he sees going virtual first, even after it’s safe to reopen offices.

That said, he is planning to offer a way to get teams together for in-person gatherings and a full company get-together once a year.

“We’ll be virtual first, but then with the savings of the real estate that we’re no longer paying for, we’re going to bring people together and make sure we have that social glue,” he said.

Posted Under: Tech News
Rising Team, with $3 million seed, is a platform that combines management tools with training

Posted by on 16 March, 2021

This post was originally published on this site

Jennifer Dulski has held her fair share of leadership positions, from being president and COO of Change.org to serving as head of product for Google’s shopping and product ads to leading the team responsible for Facebook Groups.

But she’s identified a problem that most people managers will all too clearly understand: training and tools to be a great manager are at a shortage.

That’s why she founded Rising Team, which is today announcing the raise of a $3 million seed round led by Female Founders Fund, with participation from Peterson Ventures, Burst Capital, Xoogler Ventures, 500 Startups, Roble Ventures, Supernode Ventures and several angels.

Dulski explained that there are some tools for managers, like surveys from Gallup and Glint, and there are training options, like executive coaches. But there aren’t many options out there that combine the two.

“I was lucky enough to have the benefit of getting executive coaches or being sent to training, and those felt like being taught how to fish,” said Dulski. “But then it was like being dropped off at the lake with no fishing pole or bait, because I had learned all these things about how to be a good leader but I had no tools to implement what I had learned.”

Rising Team is a platform that combines tools and training to help managers motivate, organize and ultimately effectively lead their team.

The first layer of the platform is the tools suite, which includes proprietary assessments and 1:1 templates. Most employee surveys focus so heavily on the actual job, with questions about where employees can do their best work. With Rising Team, the assessments are geared toward who team members are personally, with a look at how they want to be appreciated or what they believe their talents and skills are.

This helps managers understand how to pair team members together, what tasks they should be assigned to, and truly grasp what motivates each individual that works for them. Alongside these assessment tools, Rising Team also offers training in the form of videos, articles, and audio resources. In the future, the company plans to add AI-based custom training tips that are powered by data from the assessments.

Rising Team is also building out a community that lets managers communicate with one another.

Interestingly, the startup is taking a bottom-up approach when it comes to revenue, pricing the product in a way that will allow individual managers to personally purchase the software, hopefully spreading the word to the rest of their team. But the door is open for organizations to get their full employee base on the product as well.

For now, Rising Team is in a free beta, so pricing has not yet been announced.

The team is currently made up of 8 people, 60 percent of whom are female and 50 percent of whom are BIPOC.

“It’s really, really important to me and to our team as a whole that we build a diverse team from the start,” said Dulski. “I believe in that so firmly and all the data is really clear that more diverse teams are more successful.”


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Noogata raises $12M seed round for its no-code enterprise AI platform

Posted by on 16 March, 2021

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Noogata, a startup that offers a no-code AI solution for enterprises, today announced that it has raised a $12 million seed round led by Team8, with participation from Skylake Capital. The company, which was founded in 2019 and counts Colgate and PepsiCo among its customers, currently focuses on e-commerce, retail and financial services, but it notes that it will use the new funding to power its product development and expand into new industries.

The company’s platform offers a collection of what are essentially pre-built AI building blocks that enterprises can then connect to third-party tools like their data warehouse, Salesforce, Stripe and other data sources. An e-commerce retailer could use this to optimize its pricing, for example, thanks to recommendations from the Noogata platform, while a brick-and-mortar retailer could use it to plan which assortment to allocate to a given location.

Image Credits: Noogata

“We believe data teams are at the epicenter of digital transformation and that to drive impact, they need to be able to unlock the value of data. They need access to relevant, continuous and explainable insights and predictions that are reliable and up-to-date,” said Noogata co-founder and CEO Assaf Egozi. “Noogata unlocks the value of data by providing contextual, business-focused blocks that integrate seamlessly into enterprise data environments to generate actionable insights, predictions and recommendations. This empowers users to go far beyond traditional business intelligence by leveraging AI in their self-serve analytics as well as in their data solutions.”

Image Credits: Noogata

We’ve obviously seen a plethora of startups in this space lately. The proliferation of data — and the advent of data warehousing — means that most businesses now have the fuel to create machine learning-based predictions. What’s often lacking, though, is the talent. There’s still a shortage of data scientists and developers who can build these models from scratch, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more startups that are creating no-code/low-code services in this space. The well-funded Abacus.ai, for example, targets about the same market as Noogata.

“Noogata is perfectly positioned to address the significant market need for a best-in-class, no-code data analytics platform to drive decision-making,” writes Team8 managing partner Yuval Shachar. “The innovative platform replaces the need for internal build, which is complex and costly, or the use of out-of-the-box vendor solutions which are limited. The company’s ability to unlock the value of data through AI is a game-changer. Add to that a stellar founding team, and there is no doubt in my mind that Noogata will be enormously successful.”

Posted Under: Tech News
Cyware nabs $30M to help organizations detect and stop advanced cyber attacks

Posted by on 16 March, 2021

This post was originally published on this site

Malicious hacking has become a pernicious and dogged fact of life for more organizations, and it’s a threat that has seemingly grown more complicated and sophisticated over time. One one effective approach to tackling that has been collaboration: not just applying an array of services to address the issue, but creating environments to help those building cybersecurity to work better together. Today one of the startups building tools to do just that is announcing a round of funding, underscoring the opportunity and its own growth within that.

Cyware, a New York startup that has created a platform for organizations to build and operate virtual “cyber fusion centers” —
spaces for people to share threat intelligence, run end-to-end security automation, and orchestrate and execute 360-degree threat responses — has picked up $30 million in funding, a Series B that it will use to continue growing its business.

The funding is being co-led by Advent International and Ten Eleven Ventures. Advent made some waves in the cybersecurity industry last year when it partnered with Crosspoint to acquire Forescout for $1.9 billion. Ten Eleven, meanwhile, is a VC that specializes in cybersecurity startups. Prelude Fund (the venture practice at Mercato Partners), Emerald Development Managers, Great Road Holdings and cloud security firm Zscaler — a mix of financial and strategic investors — also participated. Before this, the startup had raised around $13 million, and it is not disclosing its valuation.

The story of the last year in the world of business has been about how everything has gone online: people and their companies have been working remotely; consumers are browsing, buying and entertaining themselves over the internet and with apps. Digital is where all the traffic is.

Unsurprisingly that has also played out in the world of cybersecurity: the threat landscape has grown, and so cybersecurity responses have grown with them. Cyware said that in the last year it saw 120% year-over-year growth in annual recurring revenue — although it doesn’t disclose actual revenue figures. Its customers are a mix of large enterprises, but also those who both collaborate with others to manage cyber security, such as information sharing communities (ISACs), as well as organizations that manage cybersecurity on behalf of a number of others, such as managed security service providers and computer emergency response teams.

Although many might have a stereotype of a malicious hacker in their heads who sits alone in a darkened room with a determined look in his/her eye, the reality is more likely to be a collaboration between a number of people, providing tips, technology, threads that are developed and so on. Cyware, in its focus on providing a platform for collaboration and creating operations centers, seems to take the same approach in what it has built, a platform to make collaborating easier and part of the solution.

It does so through security orchestration, automation and response (known as SOAR), used by teams to collaborate better and make more informed threat scoring, and to respond better to threat alerts. Indeed, a key part of the challenge for a lot of security services is that they cross multiple parts of organizations, including IT, compliance, trust and safety, and indeed security itself. One aim of Cyware is to create a platform for these all to meet and exchange information that could be helpful to others in one place.

“Over the past decade, security operations teams have had difficulty with trying to sift through copious amounts of threat data and lacked the humans’ role as part of their security orchestration strategies,” said Anuj Goel, Ph.D., cofounder and CEO of Cyware, in a statement. “Our goal with our Virtual Cyber Fusion platform is to help our customers unite their security teams to efficiently respond to high-priority threats by connecting the dots in their environments, and the momentum we’re experiencing is proof that we are executing on that mission. This Series B financing will help us continue to overdeliver for customers, expand our team, improve our platform and truly revolutionize how security operations and threat intelligence teams work together.”

Goel, who cofounded the company with CTO Akshat Jain, cut his teeth in a big security team, as head of global cyber strategy for Citi. He is also an advisor for the Centre for Strategic Cyberspace in London and has worked with other organizations on collaborative approaches to the problem and consequences of malicious hacking.

Investors will have not just been looking at the company’s growth, but also the list of customers — themselves also leaders in cyber — that are trusting Cyware.

“In our increasingly connected environment, companies of all sizes are demanding new and innovative cybersecurity solutions,” said Eric Noeth, Principal, Advent International, in a statement. “Cyware’s early traction among leading enterprises and major ISACs reflects its unique ability to bring together all key security functions to seamlessly anticipate, contextualize and remediate threats. We look forward to drawing on our experience in this sector to help the talented Cyware team make its Virtual Cyber Fusion platform the gold standard technology for enterprises around the world.”

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Airtable is now valued at $5.77B with a fresh $270 million in Series E funding

Posted by on 15 March, 2021

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Airtable, the no-code relational database that has amassed a customer base that spans 250,000 different organizations, has today announced the close of a $270 million in series E funding. The valuation comes out to $5.77 billion post-money, more than doubling its valuation from September, when it raised $185 million in Series D funding.

This latest round was led by Greenoaks Capital, with participation from WndrCo, as well as existing investors Caffeinated Capital, CRV, and Thrive.

The company says it plans to use the funding to accelerate the development of its enterprise product and growing the team. Also of note: Founder and CEO Howie Liu told Forbes that he was approached by Greenoaks, rather than actively seeking funding.

Airtable is a relational database that many describe as a souped up version of Excel or Google Sheets. Being such, and having the infrastructure to support an app ecosystem on top of that, means that this no-code tool can actually be used to write software. In other words, the use cases are nearly infinite, and so is the potential customer base.

Greenoaks Capital partner Neil Mehta basically said as much in the press release:

We believe Airtable is chasing a massive opportunity to become the ‘residual’ software platform for every bespoke and custom use case that is either performed manually today or structurally underserved by rigid third-party software. By equipping business users with fundamental software primitives that can be assembled together into powerful business applications, Airtable has become central to its users’ everyday workflows but at the same time is scalable and extensible enough to support incredibly complex enterprise use cases like ticketing, content management, and CRM.

Airtable has raised a total of $617 million since inception, according to Crunchbase.


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Customer experience startup Sprinklr files confidential S-1 with SEC

Posted by on 15 March, 2021

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Sprinklr, a New York-based customer experience company, announced today it has filed a confidential S-1 ahead of a possible IPO.

“Sprinklr today announced that it has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) relating to the proposed initial public offering of its common stock,” the company said in a statement.

It also indicated that it will determine the exact number of shares and the price range at a later point after it receives approval from the SEC to go public.

The company most recently raised $200 million on a $2.7 billion valuation last year. It was its first fundraise in 4 years. At the time, founder and CEO Ragy Thomas said his company expected to end 2020 with $400 million in ARR, certainly a healthy number on which to embark as a public company.

He also said that Sprinklr’s next fundraise would be an IPO, making him true to his word. “I’ve been public about the pathway around this, and the path is that the next financial milestone will be an IPO,” he told me at the time of the $200 million round. He said that with COVID, it probably was a year or so away, but the timing appears to have sped up.

Sprinklr sees customer experience management as a natural extension of CRM, and as such a huge market potentially worth a $100 billion, according to Thomas. But he also admitted that he was up against some big competitors like Salesforce and Adobe, helping explain why he fundraised last year.

Sprinklr was founded in 2009 with a focus on social media listening, but it announced a hard push into customer experience in 2017 when it added marketing, advertising, research, customer and e-commerce to its social efforts.

The company has raised $585 million to-date, and has also been highly acquisitive buying 11 companies along the way as it added functionality to the base platform, according to Crunchbase data.

Posted Under: Tech News
Genesis raises $45M to expand its fintech-focussed low-code platform to more verticals

Posted by on 15 March, 2021

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Low-code and no-code tools have been a huge hit with enterprises keen to give their operations more of a tech boost, but often lack the resources to handle more complex integrations. Today, one of the startups that has been building low-code finance tools is announcing funding to tap into that trend and expand its business.

Genesis — which has to date primarily worked with financial services companies, giving non-technical employees the tools to create ways to monitor and manage real-time risk, high-frequency trades and other activities — has picked up $45 million. It plans to use to bring the tools it has already built to a wider set of verticals that have some of the same needs to manage risk, compliance, and other factors as finance — healthcare and manufacturing are two examples — as well as to continue building more into the stack. 

This Series B includes a mix of financial investors along with strategic backers that speak to who already integrates with Genesis’ tools on their own platforms.

Led by Accel, it also includes participation from new backers GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Salesforce Ventures, in addition to existing investors Citi, Illuminate Financial and Tribeca Venture Partners, who also invested in this round. To give you an idea of who it works with, Citi, along with ING, London Clearing House, and XP Investments, are some of Genesis customers.

Originally conceived in 2012 in Brazil by a pair of British co-founders — Stephen Murphy (CEO) and James Harrison (CTO), who cut their teeth in the world of investment banking — Genesis had raised less than $5 million before this round, mostly bootstrapping its business and leaning on Murphy and Harrison’s existing relationships in the world of finance to grow its customer base.

Today, Murphy lives in and leads the business from Miami — where he moved from New York just as the Covid-19 pandemic was starting to gain steam last year — while James Harrison (CTO) leads part of the team based out of the UK.

As you might imagine with so little funding before now for a company going on nine years old, Genesis was doing fine financially before this Series B, so the plan is to use the funding specifically to grow faster than it could have on its own steam. The startup is not disclosing its valuation with this round.

“We were not really fixated on valuation,” said Murphy in an interview, who said the funding came about after a number of VCs had approached the startup. “The most important thing is the future opportunity and where we could take the company with additional funding… this will help us hyper scale up.” He did note that the term sheets contained “some amazing numbers and multiples,” given the current interest in no-code and low-code technology.

Indeed, the vogue for no-code and low-code tech — other well-funded names in the crowded space include startups like Zapier, Airtable, Rows, Gyana, Bryter, Ushur, Creatio, and EasySend, as well as significant launches from Google and Microsoft and other bigger players — is coming out of two trends colliding.

On one side, we’ve well and truly entered an era in enterprise technology — with the same trend playing out in consumer tech, too — where smart developers are taking sophisticated and complex services and putting “wrappers” around them by way of APIs and simpler (low- or no-code) interfaces, so that those sophisticated tools can in turn be integrated and implemented in more places. This saves needing to build or integrate that complexity from scratch and expands access to the processes within those wrappers.

On the other side, the thirst for tech knowledge has become well and truly mainstream and as a result getting far more democratized. Working in a variety of applications, using different digital tools and devices, and seeing the fruits of tech pay off are all second nature to today’s working world — whether or not you are a technologist. So it’s no surprise to see more proactive, non-technical people looking for more ways to get their hands on these tools themselves.

“You now have a whole citizen developer world, for example business analysts who understand the solution you want but might not know how to get there,” Murphy said. “We play to seasoned developers first but the investment will help us put more low code and no code tools into place to widen the tools out to them.”

Starting out in finance made sense not just because that was where the two founders had previously worked, but also because of the history of how different software tools were already being used. Specifically, he noted that the ubiquity of microservices — which themselves are collections of services as apps — laid the groundwork for more low-code. “We saw that if we could build a low-code entry point to microservices, that would be powerful.”

On top of that, investment banks, he said, have a history of wanting to build things themselves to tailor to their specific needs. “Buying off the shelf means you are at the mercy of the vendor,” he said. These factors made financial services companies very receptive to what Genesis was offering.

While a lot of the no/low-code players are coming at the concept with specific verticals in mind — no surprise, since different verticals have very specific use cases and needs — so what’s interesting with Genesis is how the company is leveraging what it already knows about finance, and then looking at other industries that have similar demands, structures and rules.

Murphy said that Genesis will stay “very focused on financial markets for 2021” but that it’s identified a number of other verticals similar to it, and is actually already seeing some inbound interest from them.

“A number of people have already approached us from the world of healthcare,” he said, pointing out that these organizations, like financial services, face challenges around how to audit data and regulations around performing transactions. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has some parallels around the area of complex event processing similar to equity algorithmic trading, he said. (In short, this relates to how external events might trigger more transactions, not unlike how external factors affect manufacturing operations.)

The trend is one that analysts forecast will only grow in the coming years: Gartner, for example, says that by 2024, low-code platforms will account for no less than 65% of all app development activity.

“Low-code promises business users the autonomy to make their own technology usage and purchase decisions while enabling them to actually build their own applications without having to rely on IT,” said Andrei Brasoveanu, a partner at Accel, said n a statement. “By bringing one of the most transformative innovations in software development to financial services, Steve and the Genesis team are taking on a huge market of legacy vendors – and winning too – while delivering on the promise of low-code. The confidence they’ve gained from serving such large institutions is proof that there’s a real and urgent need for a purpose-built low-code solution for financial markets. We’re excited to partner with Genesis and support them in delivering this across the world.” Brasoveanu is joining the startup’s board with this round.

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DeepSee.ai raises $22.6M Series A for its AI-centric process automation platform

Posted by on 15 March, 2021

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DeepSee.ai, a startup that helps enterprises use AI to automate line-of-business problems, today announced that it has raised a $22.6 million Series A funding round led by led by ForgePoint Capital. Previous investors AllegisCyber Capital and Signal Peak Ventures also participated in this round, which brings the Salt Lake City-based company’s total funding to date to $30.7 million.

The company argues that it offers enterprises a different take on process automation. The industry buzzword these days is ‘robotic process automation,’ but DeepSee.ai argues that what it does is different. I describe its system as ‘knowledge process automation’ (KPA). The company itself defines this as a system that “mines unstructured data, operationalizes AI-powered insights, and automates results into real-time action for the enterprise.” But the company also argues that today’s bots focus on basic task automation that doesn’t offer the kind of deeper insights that sophisticated machine learning models can bring to the table. The company also stresses that it doesn’t aim to replace knowledge workers but help them leverage AI to turn the plethora of data that businesses now collect into actionable insights.

Image Credits: DeepSee.ai

“Executives are telling me they need business outcomes and not science projects,” writes DeepSee.ai CEO Steve Shillingford. “And today, the burgeoning frustration with most AI-centric deployments in large-scale enterprises is they look great in theory but largely fail in production. We think that’s because right now the current ‘AI approach’ lacks a holistic business context relevance. It’s unthinking, rigid, and without the contextual input of subject-matter experts on the ground. We founded DeepSee to bridge the gap between powerful technology and line-of-business, with adaptable solutions that empower our customers to operationalize AI-powered automation – delivering faster, better, and cheaper results for our users.”

To help businesses get started with the platform, DeepSee.ai offers three core tools. There’s DeepSee Assembler, which ingests unstructured data and gets it ready for labeling, model review and analysis. Then, DeepSee Atlas can use this data to train AI models that can understand a company’s business processes and help subject-matter experts define templates, rules and logic for automating a company’s internal processes. The third tool, DeepSee Advisor, meanwhile focuses on using text analysis to help companies better understand and evaluate their business processes.

Currently, the company’s focus is on providing these tools for insurance companies, the public sector and capital markets. In the insurance space, use cases include fraud detection, claims prediction and processing, and using large amounts of unstructured data to identify patterns in agent audits, for example.

That’s a relatively limited number of industries for a startup to operate in, but the company says it will use its new funding to accelerate product development and expand to new verticals.

“Using KPA, line-of-business executives can bridge data science and enterprise outcomes, operationalize AI/ML-powered automation at scale, and use predictive insights in real time to grow revenue, reduce cost, and mitigate risk,” said Sean Cunningham, Managing Director of ForgePoint Capital. “As a leading cybersecurity investor, ForgePoint sees the daily security challenges around insider threat, data visibility, and compliance. This investment in DeepSee accelerates the ability to reduce risk with business automation and delivers much-needed AI transparency required by customers for implementation.”

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Assembled, an operating system for support teams, raises $16.6M

Posted by on 12 March, 2021

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From the point of view of a consumer, customer service sometimes feels like a monolith, but behind the scenes it can be a very fragmented business, with dozens of companies providing various different tools to help agents do their jobs.

Today, a startup founded by three Stripe alums that has set out to build a platform that helps organizations manage that spaghetti of customer service IT, and use it more efficiently, is announcing a round of funding to continue growing its business.

Assembled, which has built a platform that it describes as the “operating system” for support teams, has raised $16.6 million, a Series A that it plans to use to continue expanding its team and platform, and to bring on more customers.

The round is being led by Emergence Capital, the VC that specializes in enterprise startups, backing other communications-centric companies in its time like Salesforce, Zoom, Yammer, ServiceMax, SalesLoft and Lithium. Stripe, Basis Set Ventures and Felicis Ventures also participated. Stripe has a strong connection to Assembled. It is a customer. It led Assembled’s $3.1 million seed round a year ago.

And, it was the company where the three co-founders met and built the earliest version of the product it offers today. CEO Brian Sze was one of the first employees, overseeing business operations, where he built the customer support platform that inspired him to eventually leave to found Assembled. His two co-founders, brothers Ryan and John Wang, were engineers at the payments and financial services behemoth.

Assembled’s current platform is priced in tiers starting at $15 per agent per month. Integrating with Salesforce, Zendesk, Intercom, Kustomer, Gladly and other services by way of API integrations, it provides not just a way to manage and view customer support data from different sources in one place, but alongside that it provides tools focused on the support teams themselves. This includes tools to manage and roster teams, analyze team performance, and forecast demand depending on different factors in order to be better prepared.

As with all other aspects of how organizations work, customer service and people management are being digitally transformed. Typically, Sze said that many companies still use spreadsheets to manage and plan customer support rosters. That is now gradually shifting into what he describes as “support ops” where a strategic person is tasked not just with handling what is happening with incoming customer support right now, but also needs to figure out what will happen in the next year, and the tools that might help cope with that. “That is our emergent buyer,” Sze said.

“The sheer number of channels being supported is much bigger, when you consider email, messaging, phone lines, social media and more,” said Sze, adding that the pandemic had a particularly strong effect on Assembled’s business. It saw a big bump in especially in Q3 of last year, when its customer base doubled. “I think it came down to support being one of the most critical teams at the organization.”

Assembled today has a number of tech companies, and tech-first consumer companies as customers, including Stripe, GoFundMe, challenger bank Monzo, Google-owned Looker, D2C clothing brand Everlane and Harrys. It has grown customers five-fold in the last year, said Sze, while revenues have grown 300% (absolute numbers for both were not disclosed).

The concept of an “operating system” for customer support makes a lot of sense when you think about how the role has evolved over the years.

In the decades before the internet and digital interactions became the norm, support either focused on in-person visits, or phone-based interactions where you might find yourself calling toll-free numbers, sitting on hold for a long time, maybe being shuffled from one person to another depending on the nature of your issue.

Over time, those systems picked up some automated responses and companies started getting better systems in place to triage those calls. Then, as marketing became “marketing tech” and sales took on a software life of its own, those customer support people started to pick up more responsibilities, not just listening to customers but turning around and offering to sell them things, too, or take stock of customer satisfaction and overall sentiment. Then more channels for connecting came with the internet. Then came more efficient tools, cloud-based services, mobile services, and more to handle all of the above, and so on.

All of these iterations often came with different pieces of software, and while some companies have set out to build one-stop shops to take everything on, Assembled takes a Slack-like approach, making it easy to bring in data and manage different tools from one place, providing a place to bring them all together to help them work more harmoniously. At the same time, it provides a way to manage the teams of people who are there to work with those pieces of software. This is because, when it comes to customer support, it’s always as much about the teams running it as it is the software they are using (hence: “assmebled”).

The company’s approach has been especially relevant in the last year. Not only have teams — including customer service teams — been forced to work remotely, but they have generally seen a surge of traffic from customers who are going online for all of their services, and using digital tools when they need to get in touch with organizations. Still, the opportunity for Assembled is that by and large, there are still a large proportion of businesses that are still playing catch up here.

“Today’s customer support teams operate in a dynamic, increasingly remote environment vastly different from that of a decade ago,” said Jake Saper, Emergence General Partner, in a statement. “But it’s shocking to learn how many support teams are still operating out of spreadsheets. At Emergence, we believe that Support Ops will become a critical complement to support teams, much like DevOps has become for developers. Having initially built their product to manage Stripe’s support function, we believe the Assembled team is the world’s best to build the core operating platform for Support Ops.”

Valuation is not being disclosed.

Posted Under: Tech News
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