February 13, 2018
Jason D. Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter based in Chicago.
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UJET, a San Francisco-based provider of customer and business support solutions, announced today it closed a $25 million Series B round. According to a statement from UJET, the company has raised over $45 million in venture funding, inclusive of this round.

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GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, led the round, which also had participation from Citi Ventures, another new investor in UJET. Two investors from UJET’s Series A round—Kleiner Perkins and DCM Ventures—followed on their previous investment. Karim Faris of GV will be joining DCM’s Jason Krikorian and KPCB’s Ted Schlein on UJET’s board.

UJET’s other Series A investors, Resolute.vc, Comerica Bank, and Relay Ventures, aren’t investing in UJET’s Series B round. Anand Janefalkar, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said candidly that there was “no space left” for these earlier investors in the new round but said he’d be sure to invite them to participate in the next round “when there is room.”

Scratching One’s Own Itch

Janefalkar was previously a hardware engineering manager and team leader with time served at Motorola, Jawbone, and Thalmic Labs. After taking time away from working with larger organizations to advise a few startups working in the wireless device sector, he got started on UJET.

Janefalkar says he was inspired to start his company after having many difficult interactions with other customer service systems. He said that after changing around his internet and other utilities subscriptions following a cross-country relocation and some moves thereafter, he was struck by the inefficiency and friction they impose. Janefalkar said his somewhat unique last name proved difficult for customer service agents to spell correctly, and that by validating his identity with the last four digits of his social security number and his mother’s maiden name, he was “going back forty years in time to validate my identity.”

Janefalkar says he started “devoting twenty-four hours a day, or a good portion of that” to UJET in April 2015. Janefalkar and his cofounder, Hisun Kim, incorporated the company in July 2015 and had raised $6.6 million from Resolute, DCM, and Relay in a seed round closed in March 2016. The company then raised a $13.4 million Series A round, which was announced in May 2017..

Support As Experience

Janefalkar told Crunchbase News that they “see the support world as an experience.”

“It’s time to not see it as a cost center or channel equation, but as an experience equation,” he further explained.

Karim Faris of GV said in a statement that “UJET is a modern customer interaction platform, built to equip call centers and consumers with better tools to tackle support problems.”

UJET’s mobile SDK allows its customers—companies like SpotHero, Blink (an Amazon company), IoT doorbell-maker Ring, smart lock-maker August, and swimwear brand Chubbies—to build customer service experiences that bring voice and chat access to support personnel, as well as self-serve information, directly to their users without needing to leave customers’ apps.

Apart from scaling the business, the company intends to expand its geographic footprint beyond its Silicon Valley headquarters and an engineering office in South Korea. UJET plans to open a New York office in March and plans to open its EU headquarters in the second quarter of 2018.

Update: The headline has been changed. It previously said “Citi Invest” and now mentions “Citi Ventures”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias