Social Commerce software

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. 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. Charles raises €6.4M to bring ‘conversational commerce’ to WhatsApp

Charles, a Berlin-based startup that offers a “conversational-commerce” SaaS for businesses that want to sell on WhatsApp and other chat apps, has raised €6.4 million in funding. Charles enables businesses to sell products and services via WhatsApp and other chat apps in order to “increase conversion rate, customer loyalty and ultimately revenue. The SaaS connects chat app APIs, such as WhatsApp and Messenger, with shop and CRM systems, like Shopify, SAP and HubSpot, all delivered through a user-friendly interface. The idea is to make it easier for businesses to meet their customers on the channels they already use and to bridge the gap between sales enquiries and support, and actual conversions.

2020. iKala, an AI-based customer engagement platform, raises $17M

Taiwanese startup iKala, which offers an artificial intelligence-based customer acquisition and engagement platform, will expand into new Southeast Asian markets after raising a $17 million Series B. IKala’s products are targeted toward e-commerce companies, and include KOL Radar, for influencer marketing, and Shoplus, a social commerce service focused on Southeast Asian markets. iKala implements a state-of-the-art DAA flywheel (Digitalization, Analytics, and Application flywheel) framework to provide a clear roadmap and strategy for AI adoption.