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The Arrival of a New Year Brings More Funding to the CX Market

Three CX Companies Get Millions of Dollars in Fresh Capital and Support

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Just a few days into 2022, at least three significant CX-related funding rounds and developments have taken place. The recipients of additional capital include Exotel from India, Oregon-based AskNicely, and Quantum Workplace from Nebraska.

Exotel

Exotel, the provider of cloud-based telephony services in India, announced on January 4 that it had secured $40 million in a Series D funding round, bringing the total amount it has raised in the last 15 months across multiple debt and equity rounds to $100 million.

The fresh funds, provided by London-based Steadview Capital, will be used by Exotel to increase investments in markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for potential acquisitions that could add more omnichannel and full-stack capabilities to the Exotel platform and enable its growth, the company said in a statement.

The new infusion of capital, arriving soon after Exotel obtained $35 million in a Series C round of investment in September, comes at a critical time for the decade-old Exotel, which has been largely bootstrapped since its inception. Venture capitalists, however, have been warming up to the company in recent years, as Exotel expanded into a full-stack customer engagement platform offering a suite of communication services and tools, including contact center services, application programming interfaces (APIs), and voice and chatbots.

Shivakumar Ganesan, Exotel co-founder and CEO, said the company is evolving from a platform that helps businesses communicate with their customers, to one that helps them engage with customers through chat, voice, email, video, and bots.

“Enterprises want to unify their customer journeys to deliver connected experiences across touchpoints like web chat, co-browsing, video, etc.” Ganesan said. “This involves bringing together disconnected channels, bots, applications with siloed customer data across teams. For the first time we are enabling this over the cloud with our full-stack platform.”

AskNicely

AskNicely, the CX software provider for service businesses, announced on January 10 the completion of a $32 million Series B funding round as the company launched a platform designed specifically for the frontline teams of service businesses. Five Elms Capital led the round, and existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Blackbird Ventures were participants.

Aaron Ward, CEO and co-founder of AskNicely, said the new funding will bring better technology to its frontline success platform.

“Traditional CX software solutions do an okay job keeping analysts busy with mountains of data, but they totally ignore the actual people responsible for serving the customer,” Ward said. “It’s kind of outrageous that the class of worker that’s most impactful on the CX is also the most underserved, underpaid, and underappreciated. We’ve designed AskNicely for the frontline worker and made it our mission to make frontline work awesome.”

The company’s frontline success platform takes inspiration from business models that do not require the supervision of workers or layers of traditional management, a statement from AskNicely said.

Citing brands like Uber and Airbnb, Ward said customer feedback can be gamified for customer-facing staff to unlock small daily improvements that can drive status and rewards over time. The benefits to early customers have been significant, according to Ward, with clients reporting a doubling in net promoter scores (NPS) and cost savings in the millions of dollars as increased repeat purchases and referrals from customers mitigated the need for expensive sales and marketing promotions.

Ward said the company is investing in a culture that it calls “experience-first,” in which AskNicely staff can take time off to care for their mental well-being, and work anywhere in the world they choose. “Where you work matters a lot less to us than the experiences you have doing the work,” Ward said.

Founded in 2014, AskNicely is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Auckland, New Zealand.

Quantum Workplace

Quantum Workplace, the provider of an employee engagement and performance software solution, said on January 11 that it had obtained fresh capital from private equity firm LLR Partners. Financial details surrounding the investment were not disclosed, but Quantum said in a statement that the funding will help accelerate the company’s growth, allow the firm to explore opportunities for strategic acquisitions, and enable its data-science-based analytics and people-focused intelligence solutions to advance further.

The new investment also strengthens the company’s position as employers struggle to find or retain talent within workers’ ranks, said Greg Harris, Quantum co-founder and CEO.

“With this funding, we believe we are well positioned to seize this enormous opportunity and achieve a new level of scale and growth by expanding our product portfolio, as we help companies further leverage their talent to drive the growth and success of their businesses,” Harris said. “We know there is an undeniable link between engagement, performance and retention, and employee success is critical to business success.”

Founded in 2002 and currently headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Quantum Workplace is also the leader in data collection for the nationally recognized Best Places to Work Programs. The company has evolved from providing software-based organizational assessments to a full technology stack and platform for employee engagement, performance management, and people intelligence.

Through its platform, data can be leveraged from employee survey and talent management tools to measure, analyze, and track employee engagement and performance in real time, accompanied by intelligence dashboards that enable business leaders to identify workforce patterns of significance that could either promote or thwart business success.

The additional capital from LLR is welcome, Harris said, given the equity firm’s significant experience in the human resources technology space, along with its deep knowledge in guiding software businesses. “This investment will aid in bolstering our sales and marketing efforts, accelerating our advancement in data science, and unlocking new strategic partnerships and acquisitions,” Harris added.

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