Salesforce, a cloud-based software and CRM company, announced during its Dreamforce 2022 event held Sept. 20-22 in San Francisco the debut of Salesforce Genie, a service designed to unify customer data typically siloed in different channels and applications into a single multi-use profile.

Company officials describe it as its "biggest innovation" in the last two decades.

Salesforce also announced a new partnership with WhatsApp that will bring instant messaging to the platform. According to company officials, the WhatsApp messaging will make its way to Salesforce Marketing Cloud in December, with further integrations to enter general availability in the months to follow.

The CRM company also announced the launch of its own carbon credits marketplace, with the goal of clearing the path to net zero emissions for businesses of all sizes. Built atop Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the new marketplace will connect buyers with a selection of pre-vetted carbon credit providers, whose projects have been audited by third-party ratings agencies. The providers are involved in projects ranging from forest conservation to tree planting, wind farms and more.

The Salesforce Net Zero Marketplace is scheduled to go live in the US next month and will be brought to further markets in 2023.

In other customer experience and digital marketing software news.

Qualtrics Launches Video Feedback

Qualtrics, an experience management company, has announced the launch of Video Feedback as a service exclusively available in the Qualtrics XM Platform as a capability within DesignXM™.

Company officials said Video Feedback will automatically translate and transcribe audio — and text analytics will enable researchers to surface themes from video responses. This also picks up on-verbal signals such as body language and tone of voice, analyzes them and sets up automated alerts to prompt action.

“Now more than ever, companies need to make decisions with empathy, speed and scale,” Michel Feaster, Qualtrics’ chief product officer of research, said in a statement. “With Video Feedback, Qualtrics is defining the next era of research and empowering organizations to understand what really matters to the next generation of consumers and design the products, services and experiences they want now and next.”

Video Feedback is the first of several planned qualitative research features that Qualtrics will introduce over the coming months.

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Humankind Closes Seed Stage With $4.2M

Humankind, a Los Angeles-based digital concierge and conversational commerce platform, announced Sept. 22 it closed its seed stage fundraising round co-led by High Alpha Capital and Strand Equity for $4.2 million.

Company officials said the money will enable their platform to connect online shoppers with products experts. 

"Brand loyalty is at its highest through great experiences and conversational commerce through Humankind is a great experience every single time," Humankind Co-Founder and CEO David Weissman said in a statement.

TrueFoundry Raises $2.3M to Expand and Execute

TrueFoundry, a developer platform, has announced it raised $2.3 million in a seed round led by Sequoia India and Southeast Asia’s Surge.

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Company officials said the investment will go to expand their team and continue to build and execute their product.

“With our automated platform, data scientists and engineers are able to deploy machine learning models at the speed and maturity of big tech, cutting their production timelines from several weeks to a few hours,” Nikunj Bajaj, co-founder and CEO of TrueFoundry, said in a statement. “Data is the new oil, and we want to enable companies to use machine learning faster and generate greater business value.”

Swiftly Nets $100M

Swiftly, a retail technology platform delivering omnichannel tools, has announced it closed a $100 million Series C funding round led by BRV Capital Management (BRV Capital), bringing the company's total valuation to more than $1 billion.

Company officials said the funding will be used to accelerate product investments and expand locations.

“Our mission is to empower brick-and-mortar retailers to move from analog to algorithms, as winners in this new era of commerce will be determined by how fast they can reinvent their business to capture shoppers digitally and monetize those digital relationships," Henry Kim, co-founder and CEO of Swiftly, said in a statement. “We are grateful to BRV Capital for their support that will enable us to turn today's brick-and-mortar retailers into tomorrow's omnichannel leaders.”

Fondue Will Replace Coupon Codes With $10.5M

Fondue announced Sept. 19 it closed a $10.5 million seed round led by Quiet Capital and Hanaco Ventures. It plans to continue to replace ecommerce coupon codes with its brand-embedded CashBack app. 

"Brands are addicted to legacy discounting strategies like coupon codes, thinking it's just the cost of doing business,” Oren Charnoff, CEO and co-founder of Fondue, said in a statement. "Fondue CashBack is more profitable than legacy discounting so brands enjoy a positive feedback loop of higher conversion, more profit, more LTV — money they can reinvest back into sustainable growth.” 

Lynk Raises $3M to Debut Payment Solution

Lynk, a payment platform, announced the general availability of its branded payment solution. This follows an infusion of $3 million raised in seed capital that included participation from Samsung Next, Plug and Play, Tribe Capital, Simplex Trading, N49P and others.

According to company officials, their closed loop platform is designed for startups, small- to medium-sized marketplace and gig economy companies with high credit card processing fees.

"Credit card fees and building customer loyalty are two of the biggest challenges for small business owners," Lynk Co-Founder and CEO Nabi Awada said in a statement. "In the current payment systems, they are at the mercy of credit card providers, banks, payment networks and aggregators that all pile on fees and control when payments are funded. Lynk's branded payment solution enables businesses to own the payment experience ... ."

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