Business Fintech & e-commerce Venture

Digitizing Customer Service: Glia Begins 2021 With $78M Series C

With more purchases moving online in 2020 due to the global pandemic, customer service shifted online, too.

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Glia aims to be the leader of managing a company’s digital customer service and is now boosted by a $78 million Series C round of funding.

Back when the company, based in New York and Estonia, started in 2012, the concept of digital customer service–or pairing web and mobile experiences with digital communication choices, on-screen collaboration and artificial intelligence-enabled assistance–was relatively unknown, Glia’s co-founder and CEO Daniel Michaeli told Crunchbase News.

“At that time, it was hard to get rich interactions digitally between businesses and customers,” Michaeli said. “Digital has come a long way in eight years, and now we are reinventing customer service in this world. In the past, digital customer service was reserved for those being forward-thinking or digital-first, and today, it’s become a must-have.”

Existing investor Insight Partners led the funding, bringing Glia’s total fundraising to $107 million, which includes a $20 million Series B, also led by Insight, raised in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Glia went after the Series C after experiencing more than 150 percent growth in 2020, Michaeli said.

As a result, he intends on “doubling down and focusing on this opportunity,” which includes adding to its team in every aspect, from sales to marketing to product development, to scale. It will also invest heavily in technology, engineering and in the adoption process of its tools.

There is also more evidence digital customer service is growing: This week, social media management platform Hootsuite announced its acquisition of Sparkcentral, a customer engagement tool that enables one-on-one messaging via social channels. In addition, a Gartner survey claims that by 2023 more than 40 percent of customer service will be automated.

Meanwhile, the company has 100 employees, and Michaeli expects that number to exceed 200 by the end of 2021. Glia is already working with 150 customers, but he sees that number increasing as well.

“The demand and mindset is there, and we see a similar growth trajectory this year, so we wanted to make sure we were capitalized for that demand,” he added. “We want to facilitate their transformation and help clients achieve it through our success team and sales.”

Lonne Jaffe, managing director at Insight Partners, said in an interview that the firm invests in large tech-growth companies that have already achieved product market fit and are still growing, what he referred to as “scale ups.”

Between Glia’s year-over-year growth and customer feedback, there was clear evidence that the company fit that area, Jaffe said.

“One of the nice things is that the market is pulling for digital right now,” he added. “Before, companies were saying they should be rolling this out, but doing so is hard, so they would do it later. This year, many companies are saying ‘if we don’t do this, we don’t exist.’”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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