- By Alex Gaw
- February 8, 2022
As January drew to a close, there was no lack of activity on the acquisitions and new funding front. Below are some notable newsmakers during this period.
Cyara Receives New $350 Million Investment
Cyara, the provider of automated CX assurance solutions headquartered in Redwood City, California, announced on January 31 it had received more than $350 million from K1 Investment Management, an investment firm based in Manhattan Beach, California, focused on high-growth enterprise software companies.
Cyara helps customers build and maintain their CX systems with automated testing and monitoring. The investment from K1, as well as K1’s experience in business-to-business (B2B) software as a service (SaaS), will be critical factors for Cyara to build on its presence in the CX assurance market. Through its SaaS-based Automated CX Assurance Platform, Cyara has gained visibility in the contact center testing market.
Cyara will use the capital infusion to accelerate product innovation, expand CX assurance into new emerging digital channels, fund strategic acquisitions of complementary technologies, and fuel geographic expansion.
Waterfield Technologies Acquires VoxGen
Waterfield Technologies, the developer of customer engagement solutions from Tulsa, Oklahoma, announced on January 27 it was acquiring VoxGen, the bot strategy and design firm from the UK. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Acquiring VoxGen will expand Waterfield’s position as the global, go-to technology and services partner in conversational artificial intelligence (AI) for midmarket and large enterprise clients looking to accelerate their CX transformation. At the same time, Waterfield expects to amplify its role in leading CX transformation across the contact center, enabling companies globally to operationalize AI and intelligently automate conversations that deliver connected CX.
The acquisition will also enable Waterfield to address fast-growing opportunities in retail, healthcare, government, and other business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors related to the use of AI in the contact center.
NLX Raises $5 Million Seed Capital
Self-service automation and conversational AI provider NLX announced on January 27 that it had raised $5 million in seed funds to create automated, personalized customer self-service solutions to manage customer interactions in the travel, hospitality, banking, and insurance industries. The funding round was led by Aquila Capital Partners, with the participation of Flying Fish Partners, Sage Venture Partners, and JetBlue Technology Ventures.
New York City-based NLX provides solutions to automate customer support for organizations and technical decision-makers so that users can resolve issues without contacting a support agent. The NLX flagship solution, Voice Compass, is a voice-powered self-service product that verbally guides customers through onscreen travel to complete tasks, from booking flights online to changing account passwords.
NLX is in competition with top-tier communication AI providers, including Nuance Communications, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2021 for $19.7 billion; and ASAPP, an AI call-center/automation company that raised $ 120 million last year and achieved a valuation of $ 1.6 billion. However, NLX is aiming for differentiation by adopting a low-code approach that enables organizations to manage their AI-powered support strategies from a central location.
IgniteTech Acquires BryterCX Assets
IgniteTech, the Austin, Texas-based enterprise software company with a Netflix-style licensing model for its portfolio, announced on January 27 the acquisition of specific assets of BryterCX, a provider of end-to-end customer journey solutions headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The value of the assets was not divulged at the time of the announcement.
The acquisition is the latest addition to the IgniteTech Software Library, home to more than 60 solutions across various industries and markets. Specifically, BryterCX’s software will strengthen the IgniteTech Customer Experience Management solution suite: The BryterCX Journey Intelligence Platform uses AI and machine learning (ML) to provide users with journey insights that uncover business opportunities.
The Netflix-style licensing model adopted by IgniteTech provides its customers full access to all of the company’s enterprise solution portfolio. Subscriptions include access to the IgniteTech Cloud Cost Optimization offering, which the company says helps reduce cloud-related spending.
EU Commission Clears Meta Acquisition of Kustomer
Kustomer is a New York-based company whose customer relationship management (CRM) solution enables customer communications across multiple platforms from a single dashboard. For its part, Meta hopes to make Facebook a central platform for customer service and communications.
An acquisition would allow such a strategy to move forward for Meta, the new corporate name assumed by Facebook last year to cover its various properties, encompassing websites and applications for mobile devices, social networking, consumer communications, and photo and video sharing. Those properties include Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
The European Commission’s investigation focused on whether a Meta acquisition might disadvantage Kustomer’s rival providers of customer service and support CRM software, or if the acquisition could have a significant negative impact on fair prices. The commission is the executive branch of the European Union (EU), responsible for proposing legislation, enforcing EU laws, and directing administrative operations.
To address the competition concerns identified by the commission, Meta offered comprehensive access commitments with a 10-year duration. Among those commitments, Meta pledged to guarantee, for competing CRM software providers and new entrants, non-discriminatory access to the company’s publicly available application programming interfaces (APIs) for its messaging channels. Meta also committed to core API access parity—that it would make available to Kustomer’s rivals and new entrants any features of Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp being used by Kustomer’s clientele that may be updated or improved.
Given the commitments offered by Meta, the commission concluded that the proposed transaction, with its modifications, no longer raised competition concerns, paving the way for the approval of the acquisition.
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