Clickatell raises $91 million to scale its chat commerce platform and US expansion – TechCrunch

Startups

The total addressable market of the global chat commerce is estimated to be worth $80 billion and is seen as the third major wave of digital commerce after the e-commerce and app commerce markets

As the largest digital platform in the world with more users than the 4.7 billion internet users, it only makes sense for businesses to interact with consumers through chat channels and transact.

Founded in 2000, Clickatell is a pioneer in mobile communications and chat trading. The company helps businesses communicate with their customers through mobile messaging platforms and today announces it has raised $91 million in a new round of funding

The Series C funding, a decade after the Sequoia-backed company raised its latest round, was led by Arrowroot Capital, with Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, To strive Join Global and Harvest

Founded in South Africa, Clickatell is headquartered in California, with offices in Nigeria and Canada. Pieter de Villiersthe company’s founder and chief executive officer, told TechCrunch that he started the company for the Internet, the fastest-growing commerce platform to communicate with the mobile phone, the fast-growing communication platform

For example, Clickatell became the go-to API interface for businesses to send messages to their customers, enabling significant gains in customer engagement via SMS

In 2011, Clickatell received a capital injection from Sequoia Capital and other investors for its $12 million Series B round to move beyond customer engagement and add payments to one of its numerous offerings

In a chat room where Twilio, Zendesk and Stripe are active in communication platform as a service (CPaaS), contact center as a service (CCaaS) and e-commerce payments respectively, Clickatell plays at the intersection of the three and helps companies implement payments in chat channels.

The platform allows consumers to connect with brands via SMS and USSD (in Nigeria) and WhatsApp (in South Africa) to find goods and services, make purchases, track orders and resolve issues via SMS or chat

The company claims to have developed one of the world’s first chat banking solutions on WhatsApp through its chat commerce integration with ABSA Bank, one of South Africa’s largest banks.

“In many ways, we’ve had to wait a bit for the market to come to us because if you have the first mover, you can also get too far ahead and end up in a desert,” de Villiers told TechCrunch about the company’s progress. from enabling customer engagement through chat to payments

“We had to wait for things like the WhatsApp channel to open. And two years ago we were the first company in the world to launch payments started from WhatsApp and chat banking

Last September, Clickatell, in partnership with Visa’s fraud management platform, Cybersource, launched Chat2Pay to deliver chat commerce and make contactless payments for businesses in the USThe partnership broadens acceptance by the payment giant of various payment methods outside of physical payment terminals and cre-edit cards.

Merchants using the platform can send payment links to customers via SMS or WhatsApp, who are then taken to a payment page to include their card details and make payments.

we believe that chat commerce has the potential to be bigger than e-commerce for the simple reason that there are already more people on chat today than on the web, in fact almost twice as manySo what if Visa thinks about the future, and how they serve their customers around the world? multiple payment instruments, they decided to work with us,” he said

The market opportunities for this collaboration are enormous. The global contactless payment market worth $12 billion in 2019 to be expected to reach $52 billion in the next five yearsAnd through the partnership, Visa merchants and partners in 190 countries will gain access to the newly launched platform

Clickatell claims to have achieved profitable double-digit growth for more than a decade. As of 2020, it has processed more than 30 billion interactions and 2 billion trades, the company saidIn Nigeria alone, Clickatell reaches 17 million end customers and executes up to 1.3 million payment transactions daily

In 2019, the California-based company sought funds to go public in the US and, of course, that listing has not yet materialized given the new private equity round.† Citing why Clickatell remains private, clifted executive de Villiers said the 22-year-old company needed secure funding to test products “in an industry that just now arise”, but he’s pretty sure the next round of Clickatell will be a public one.

For now, Clickatell plans to use Series C capital to expand its US presence, scale its sales and marketing efforts, and accelerate developing its chat commerce offering in South Africa and Nigeria

“Clickatell is an inspiring example of how a company from South Africa can move the future forwardClickatell was the pioneering company that successfully used to send messages from the internet to cell phones, and today they send some of the biggest names in communication like WhatsApp,” said Allen Taylor, To strive Catalyst director in a statement

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