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Customer experience acquisitions and funding

M&A and New Funding for Prepaid Technologies, Invoca, qiibee, SturdyAI and InMoment

Workstride, ReviewTrackers Are Acquired

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Two transactions in this roundup can lay claim to significant funding. Prepaid Technologies acquired Workstride on the heels of receiving $96 million in funding, and Invoca raised $83 million in an equity financing round. Also of interest is funding raised by Swiss company qiibee for its unusual but creative take in connecting loyalty programs among businesses to a blockchain-based rewards marketplace. And both SturdyAI and InMoment hope to boost their offerings: the former for its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven customer intelligence platform, the latter for its online review solution. Details follow below.

Prepaid Technologies Acquires Workstride to Combine Digital Payment Offerings

Fintech solution and payments program manager Prepaid Technologies is acquiring Workstride, a reward programs provider for the enterprise. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition comes after Prepaid Technologies raised $96 million in funding late last year from growth equity investment firm Edison Partners.

Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Prepaid Technologies focuses on providing digital payment solutions that include payroll, expense, gift, reward, and incentive card products; the recipients can be employers, financial institutions, and government agencies. For its part, New York-based Workstride offers channel incentive and employee recognition programs. Its employee reward and recognition solution encompasses custom reward interactions that can be delivered in a variety of ways, including spot service awards, monetary rewards, and non-monetary rewards, all aimed at fostering company culture and social interaction via the program’s social interactive stream. The Workstride solution also automates program logistics, freeing up administrator time for more important tasks.

Combining the two companies will provide businesses with an end-to-end menu of enterprise payment solutions from pay, expense management, and corporate disbursements, to employee and channel incentives and rewards—a comprehensive system designed to enhance employee satisfaction and retention in an increasingly competitive job market.

Invoca Raises $83 Million in Series F Equity Financing

Invoca, the AI-powered call tracking and conversational analytics company based in Santa Barbara, California, recently raised $83 million in Series F equity financing at a valuation of $1.1 billion, with the new capital bringing the company’s total equity financing to $184 million. The funding round was led by Silver Lake Waterman, an investor in late-stage-growth companies, with additional new investments from Hollyport Capital, Kingfisher Investment Advisors, and Fenwick & West, along with participation from existing investors Upfront Ventures, Accel, H.I.G. Capital, and Industry Ventures. The new funding comes after a year of record growth for Invoca, with the company surpassing $100 million in run-rate revenue, a projected figure. 

The fresh funds will be used by Invoca to transform contact centers with AI-powered conversation intelligence, pursue acquisitions, and expand internationally to support customers in Europe, Mexico, and South America.

Invoca serves consumer brands in considered purchase industries like automotive, telecommunications, healthcare, financial services, and real estate. Among its customers are AutoNation, Banner Health, DirecTV, Rogers Communications, and Mayo Clinic. The company employs nearly 400 workers.

Swiss Company qiibee Raises $4.8 Million to Expand Global Footprint

The Zug, Switzerland-based company known as qiibee, the provider of a blockchain-based business-to-business (B2B) rewards marketplace, raised $4.8 million following the close of a seed funding round. The funding effort was led by Z5 Capital, the Silicon Valley-headquartered venture capital (VC) firm that invests in early-stage enterprise firms, joined by a bevy of high-profile participants that included founders and former CEOs of technology consultancies, media and advertising groups, and technology investors. The company will earmark the new funds to grow its global team and bolster expansion into priority markets like North America.

Founded by two brothers, Gabriele and Gianluca Giancola, qiibee enables brands to connect their loyalty programs through blockchain and to scale partnership networks. Rewards are exchangeable through a blockchain-based B2B rewards marketplace, and qiibee clients can give their partners marketplace access as well to luxury brands, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In 2021, the first connection among different loyalty programs through qiibee technology launched with Louis Erard, a Swiss luxury watch maker. It enabled members to exchange their own loyalty currency, Louis Erard Points, for airline travel miles from Etihad Airways, a flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); or for nine different cryptocurrencies.

SturdyAI Raises $3.1 Million to Strengthen AI-led Customer Platform

SturdyAI, the Boise, Idaho-based provider of a customer intelligence and automation platform driven by AI, raised $3.1 million in funding led by Grotech Ventures, investors in high-potential technology companies. The infusion of capital will enable SturdyAI to continue on its growth path, broaden market awareness, and strengthen the company’s customer intelligence solution, known as “Sturdy.” The solution unifies and analyzes all sources of customer feedback and creates just-in-time automation to drive actionable insights. 

Lawson DeVries, managing general partner at Grotech Ventures, says his firm will help SturdyAI bring AI to companies that “need to do more with less.” He adds, “Actionable customer intelligence is no longer a nice-to-have aspect for companies of all sizes—it is mission critical for businesses to thrive in today’s market.”

Steve Hazelton, co-founder and CEO of SturdyAI, says the company discovers preemptive signals for customer churn to help teams create more enduring relationships. “The critical component that most companies lack is a scalable system of intelligence—a system that listens to all of your customer feedback and routes the important things to the right people in the systems that they use every day. That is why we built Sturdy.”

InMoment Acquires ReviewTrackers to Bolster Online Reviews Solution

InMoment, the provider of customer survey and enterprise feedback management solutions headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, completed its acquisition of ReviewTrackers, the Chicago-based customer review software company. The two firms will join forces to accelerate delivery of an integrated solution focused on analyzing, amplifying, and maximizing customer feedback insight to drive more meaningful customer relationships and improve customer retention.

With consumers across industries using online reviews as a key component in research and purchasing decisions, both companies believe that CX best practices include monitoring, managing, and responding to online reviews from customers. Andrew Joiner, CEO at InMoment, says the acquisition will enable companies to expand beyond surveys to include social ratings and reviews, manage online reputation, and improve CX overall.

Chris Campbell, CEO at ReviewTrackers, says review and reputation management are central components of a broader CX ecosystem. “We fundamentally believe that the success of your brand depends on the voice of your customer. By joining InMoment, we have a remarkable opportunity to broaden the scope of our individual solutions and strengths to provide an integrated system that will help our clients better acquire and retain their customers.”

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