Clickatell, an SMS API platform based in Redwood City, Calif., raised $91 million in their Series C funding led by Arrowroot Capital, marking the end of its fourth funding round.
Previous investments include $12 million Series B funding in 2011, $6 million series A funding in 2006 and a $4 million private equity round in 2004. The company currently employs more than 300 people in offices in Silicon Valley, Toronto, Cape Town and Lagos.
Jeppe Dorff, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Clickatell, told CMSWire, "Clickatell has been pioneering technologies at the intersection of commerce and mobile messaging for many years.” The company’s progression has led to them becoming:
- A chat commerce pioneer: Clickatell was one of the first to provide consumer service solutions over chat platforms, pushing Chat Commerce to the forefront of digital marketing.
- A differentiated platform: The company enables brands to connect and interact with consumers and transact and capitalize on chat interactions in a timely manner, all with an "app-like" experience that's user-friendly. Additional tools include direct integrations with banking institutions and mobile network operators that optimize readability and performance.
Clickatell Targets Businesses Interactions
Clickatell's chat commerce solutions allow businesses to connect, communicate and transact with customers over a variety of chat channels, including WhatsApp and iMessage. By 2020, the company's global customer base surpassed 10,000, with clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.
Brands recognize that mobile phones and tablet-based chat platforms currently dominate the digital world, and these chat channels offer the most significant ecommerce potential. Due to these emerging trends, Clickatell expects chat commerce to soon outpace traditional ecommerce. They also predict a new wave of customers and merchants in emerging nations who will prefer developed chat over traditional internet channels as their go-to platform.
"Consumers prefer to digitally self-serve rather than queue in a branch or be placed on hold by a call center," said Dorff. As a result, there's been a shift in business spend and priorities, with an emphasis on digital-first behavior. Clickatell hopes to meet these priorities with their platform as a service (PaaS) interface, which offers three distinct areas of service:
- Connect: Allows businesses to send one-way notifications and alerts, such as transaction confirmations, delivery updates and product rollouts
- Interact: Provides two-way engagement in real-time between businesses and consumers via branded bots or agents
- Transact: Integrates payments and digital commerce capabilities with chat interaction, enabling consumers to pay for services initiated out of the chat
Clickatell Promises New Services
Clickatell's most previous product announcement, detailed in a press release on Sept. 8, 2021, was Chat 2 Pay. Similar to Venmo and Paypal Payment Links, the new tool allows merchants to send customers a payment link via SMS or WhatsApp.
According to Dorff, one benefit to Chat 2 Pay is that it mitigates the risk of managing credit card data. It will also aid the overall digital customer experience. "Clickatell's own data shows using the chat channel for interactions and transactions reduces the overall cost of doing business while increasing customer engagement,” Dorff explained.
Looking ahead, Dorff said Clickatell plans to extend their channel offering, "allowing more connections between businesses and users to be made in a single-click way."
The company will soon launch Advanced Messaging capabilities, allowing SMS and other notifications to transform into an unassisted or assisted chat leveraging the exact same investments that customers have already deployed. Clickatell is also doubling down on chat orchestration, introducing new features to the Chat Flow product line to help clients design, test and deploy integrated bots, resulting in optimized — and more consistent — end-user experiences across channels.