UserLeap, an AI-powered technology platform designed to give product development teams continuous user feedback, raised $38 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, CEO Ryan Glasgow announced on June 17.

San Francisco-based UserLeap said it plans to use the money for research and development and to grow its customer base globally. Glasgow and Kevin Mandich founded the company in 2018 and had raised $20 million from venture capital and angel investors before this latest funding round. Glasgow also announced that Andreessen Horowitz general partner Kristina Shen joined UserLeap's board.

"As technology has evolved, how product teams build and deploy has fundamentally changed," wrote Glasgow, a veteran of previous startups Weebly and Vurb. "Product teams now ship weekly or even daily instead of the slow monthly release schedules of the past."

UserLeap aims to give products teams a better way to understand customers and make product decisions, he said, by running targeted "microsurveys" within the product that get higher response rates than email surveys. Product managers can choose from one of 75 research templates to deploy a survey, which typically will appear the bottom of an app and is triggered by a customer action. UserLeap’s AI then analyzes open-text responses in real time, which are then reviewed by researchers.

MeetingPlay Gets $75 Million in Funding From Sunstone Partners

MeetingPlay, a technology company that focuses on solutions for in-person, virtual and hybrid events, has received a $75 million investment from Sunstone Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on software and tech-enabled services companies.

The hybrid event tech company offers a full suite of features for conferences, events and meetings that allow for enhanced attendee experiences. The company’s proprietary software platform includes standards for attendee engagement, event attendance, customized virtual environments and broadcast-quality programming.

MeetingPlay is popular among several heavy hitting companies like Marriott International, Databricks, and more. Through the partnership with Sunstone, MeetingPlay is now positioned to execute on a growth strategy by way of the development of innovative products, expanding delivery capabilities and enhancing go-to-market strategies to continue to provide market-leading customer experiences.

“Sunstone’s investment strategy, which puts people and innovation first, will help us grow our product offerings and enable our customers to deliver even more exciting, on-brand and transformative events. We knew early on that Sunstone shared our vision, stressing their desire to preserve our unique culture and strong emphasis on exceptional customer service. We look forward to working with them during this next phase of growth and innovation.” said MeetingPlay Co-CEO Joe Schwinger in a statement.

Genesys Announces New Customer Engagement Platform

Genesys, a company that specializes in customer experience orchestration, has shared news about their new platform, Genesys DX, a predictive engagement digital customer engagement platform. Genesys DX makes use of the company's CX proficiency and Genesys AI, a predictive engagement tool, to build upon the platform’s conversational AI and dynamic knowledge base capabilities that were a part of the acquisition of Bold360, made earlier this year in May.

"The world of customer engagement has changed fundamentally with the majority of consumers preferring digital experiences," said Barry O'Sullivan, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Genesys Digital and AI in a statement. "Businesses must adapt to meet new customer expectations for rapid, reciprocal engagement.”

As companies continue to shift more business to digital interactions based on the rapid changes in consumer expectations, traditionally, engagements are approached as singular interactions through various digital channels or on transaction-oriented, conversational platforms. As the consumer-defined landscape continues to evolve, so does the need for businesses to create empathetic experiences across all customer touchpoints.

Learning Opportunities

Semrush Gets Major Update

Semrush, a search and online visibility management SaaS platform, has shared what they are calling a new major update to the Backlinks Database and Backlinks Analytics tools for digital marketers.

Backlinks are a key componentof any good SEO strategy. These are used by search engines as one signal in the results ranking process. Each link is weighed upon its trustworthiness. As in this update Semrush has implemented a new approach to crawling and reporting new backlinks that is designed to increase the speed and freshness of backlinks.

“Backlink data is a core element of Semrush’s powerful online visibility management platform. Over the past 18 months, our engineers have rebuilt our backlinks architecture from the ground up…”, said Aoife McIlraith, Vice President of Marketing. “The median amount of time it takes to find and show a new link after the target page was created has been reduced to only 19 minutes, which is the fastest backlinks discovery among our key known competitors.“

Syntax Acquires Illumiti, Expands Global SAP Functional Practice Across U.S.

Syntax, a multi-cloud and multi-ERP managed cloud provider announced this week the acquisition of Illumiti this week. Toronto-based Illumiti is a SAP systems integration and management consultancy, and an SAP Platinum Partner. By joining forces, Syntax and Illumiti are able to offer companies end-to-end technical and functional SAP solutions and expertise. Syntax is part of Novacap portfolio. They are based in Montrea and are a private equity firm.

"No matter how much we've grown, Syntax has always been a boutique partner at scale with deep entrepreneurial roots," said Christian Primeau, Global CEO of Syntax in a statement. "Our top priority when looking for a company to help us expand our functional SAP capabilities was finding one that was equally as entrepreneurial and customer-centric. Illumiti was the obvious choice, and we are excited to collaborate with them and further their growth in the industry."

Stripes Heads up a $50M Series B Round for Oyster

Last week, talent management Oyster announced it has raised a $50 million in Series B funding. The funding round was led by Stripes in conjunction with the continued participation of its existing investors Emergence Capital and The Slack Fund and with the addition of Avid Ventures.

In addition, in this past February, Oyster had received $20M Series A funding, this new Series B investment allows Oyster to expand its HR platform to more countries around the world and continue to empower globally distributed companies to succeed on the world stage.

"Oyster enables companies eager to employ and retain talented employees around the world. With Oyster, companies are building their distributed teams remotely with ease and confidence, with a powerful single-source platform for managing local legal compliance, payroll, benefits, and other critical human resource needs specific to each country," said Tony Jamous, CEO and co-Founder of Oyster in a statement. "As a B-Corp, Oyster is on a mission to remove the barriers to global employment so that talented people across the world can increase their employability no matter where they are."

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