Conversational Commerce solutions
Updated: May 13, 2022
2022. Japan’s Zeals raises $38.8M to scale its chat commerce platform
Zeals, a Tokyo-based startup that lets businesses communicate with their customers via its chat application, has secured $27.2 million. Conversational commerce, a term coined by former Uber employee Chris Messina in 2015, enables online businesses to sell their products and services through messaging and chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The coronavirus pandemic has fueled messaging apps to be the medium for personal, business or commerce to interact with each other. Zeals currently serves more than 400 enterprises, including Toyota dealerships, Shiseido and NTT Docomo.
2022. Clickatell raises $91M to scale its chat commerce platform
Clickatell, a pioneer in mobile communications and chat commerce space, that helps businesses communicate with their customers via mobile messaging platforms, has raised $91 million in a new financing round. In a chat commerce space where the likes of Twilio, Zendesk and Stripe power activities in communication platform as a service (CPaaS), contact center as a service (CCaaS) and e-commerce payments, respectively, Clickatell plays in the intersection of the three and helps businesses deploy payments in chat channels. The company claims to have developed one of the world’s first chat banking solutions on WhatsApp via its chat commerce integration with ABSA Bank, one of South Africa’s largest banks.
2021. Сonversational commerce startup Whym raise $4.3M
Whym, a conversational commerce startup, has raised $4.3 million in new seed funding. Whym’s team realized that combining messaging and commerce into a new experience where transactions could take place over a text or even a DM thread could enable a new form of social shopping. Later Whym has expanded to offer brands a micro-storefront solution that can be paired with their current texting campaigns, allowing customers to shop a product or small set of products and their variations — like colors or sizes, for example — then immediately check out. Brands can also promote their links in other places across social media and messaging apps, like “link in bio” solutions, swipe-ups (now link stickers on Instagram), messaging apps and more.
2021. Conversational commerce startup Wizard raises $50M
Wizard, a B2B startup in the “conversational commerce” space which believes the future of mobile commerce will take place over text, has raised $50 million Series A. The company describes the B2B service as one that will enable brands and retailers to transact with consumers over text. The service is positioned as “an end-to-end shopping experience” on mobile from opt-in to search to payments and shipping and even reorders. These text-based chats won’t feel like the annoying interactions you may have had with messaging app chatbots in the past
2021. Business messaging platform Gupshup raises $240M
Gupshup, a business messaging platform that began its journey in India 15 years ago, has raised $240 million. The startup, which operates a conversational messaging platform that is used by over 100,000 businesses and developers today to build their own messaging and conversational experiences to serve their users and customers, is beginning to consider exploring the public markets by next year. Banking, e-commerce, travel and hospitality and other sectors are among the clients of Gupshup. These firms are using Gupshup to send their customers transaction information and authentication codes, among other use cases.
2021. Mobile commerce startup Via rounds up $15 million in Series A
Via, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based startup, is among those so-called conversational commerce startups, having identified some trends that are becoming clearer by the month. First, more e-commerce sales will be on mobile phones this year than desktops (as much as 70% by some estimates), people tend to read text messages almost immediately, and consumers spend upwards of 30 minutes a day engaging with mobile messaging apps. Via also insists that unlike an expanding pool of startups that are focused on helping retailers and others broadcast their marketing messages in SMS, there’s room for a player to better address the many other pieces that add up to a happy consumer experience, from delivering coupon codes to starting the returns process.
2021. Yalo raises $50M to build ‘c-commerce’ services for chat apps like WhatsApp
Facebook has long been working on raising WhatsApp’s profile as a channel for businesses to interact with (and sell to) their customers. Today, a startup that has built a suite of tools for retailers and others to build and run those services over WhatsApp and other messaging platforms is announcing growth funding to address that opportunity. Yalo, which describes itself as a c-commerce (“chat commerce”) startup building tools for businesses to use messaging apps as part of their customer outreach and sales strategies, has raised $50 million, funding that it will be using to expand its services with a specific focus on emerging markets like Latin America and Southeast Asia. Yalo already counts big brands like Unilever, Nestle, Coca-Cola and Walmart among the customers using its platform for sales and marketing efforts. In total that speaks to potentially an audience of 350 million, although Yalo doesn’t disclose how many people are actually using its services as a part of that.
2021. Conversational Marketing platform Qualified raises $51M
Salesforce dominates the world of CRM today, but while it’s a popular and well-used tool for organizing contacts and information, it doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to helping salespeople and marketers sell better, especially when meetings are not in person. Today, one of the startups that has emerged to help fill the gap is announcing a round of growth funding on the back of a huge year for its business. Qualified — which builds better interactions for B2B sales and marketing teams that already use Salesforce by tapping into extra data sources to develop a better profile of those visiting your website, in aid of improving and personalizing the outreach (hence the name: you’re building “qualified” leads) — has picked up $51 million in funding.
2020. Attentive raises another $40M for mobile messaging
Mobile messaging startup Attentive has raised a $40 million Series B. Attentive drives an average of 18.5% of total online revenue for modern e-commerce brands. Apparently, the number of new customer sign-ups is only increasing, with Attentive now working with more than 1,000 businesses. Companies like Coach, Urban Outfitters, CB2, PacSun, Lulus and Jack in the Box use the platform to manage their mobile messaging, with tools around adding text message subscribers, creating engaging messages and tracking the results of those campaigns.