Mobile communications and chat commerce firm Clickatell, says it has secured $91 million (R1.377 billion) in a Series C round of funding, led by Arrowroot Capital, with participation from Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, Endeavor Global and Harvest. Clickatell investors now include Arrowroot Capital, Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Endeavor Global and Harvest. Started in Cape Town by Pieter de Villiers, the company’s chief executive officer, Clickatell is headquartered in California, with offices in Nigeria and Canada.
The company said it will use the latest capital injection to scale and expand three key areas: Accelerated development and innovation of its chat commerce offering; expansion of its footprint in the US; and Scaling of sales and marketing efforts on the back of growing demand from leading brands. Clickatell serves more than 10,000 customers, many of which are Fortune 500 companies and leading global brands such as Coca-Cola, Deloitte, GT Bank, Booking.com, GoDaddy, IKEA, Novartis, Standard Bank, Tangerine, Telegram, US Foods, Visa, Zipcar, Capitec and others.
“Chat commerce is the future of digital commerce and engagement – it’s already happening at scale in markets such as China — and soon every consumer in the US will engage family and friends via chat plus connect, interact and transact with the brands they love through their favourite chat platform; and we are excited to be a leader in this digital engagement revolution,” said Pieter de Villiers. “We believe brands want to avoid placing their customers on hold and it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to download their apps; Clickatell’s chat commerce platform enables brands to serve their customers where they are, in the chat platform they already use.”
Chat is the largest digital platform in the world, with 7.7 billion users compared to 4.7 billion internet users, making it next to impossible for businesses to operate without communicating and transacting with consumers in chat channels, Clickatell said. Chat commerce enables businesses to easily facilitate significantly improved customer experiences through chat, with the added benefit of being far more efficient for customers and operational costs.
“Clickatell is an inspiring example of how a company from South Africa can pull the future-forward. Clickatell was the pioneering company that successfully first sent messages from the internet to mobile phones, and today they power some of the biggest names in communications, like WhatsApp,” said Endeavor Catalyst managing director Allen Taylor. “With this new funding round, we are proud to partner with Pieter and the Clickatell team and work with them on what’s next.”