Aug
12
2021
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Talkdesk’s valuation jumps to $10B with Series D for smart contact centers

Talkdesk, a provider of cloud-based contact center software, announced $230 million in new Series D funding that more than triples the company’s valuation to $10 billion, Talkdesk founder CEO Tiago Paiva confirmed to TechCrunch.

New investors Whale Rock Capital Management, TI Platform Management and Alpha Square Group came on board for this round and were joined by existing investors Amity Ventures, Franklin Templeton, Top Tier Capital Partners, Viking Global Investors and Willoughby Capital.

Talkdesk uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve customer service for midmarket and enterprise businesses. It counts over 1,800 companies as customers, including IBM, Acxiom, Trivago and Fujitsu.

“The global pandemic was a big part of how customers interact and how we interacted with our customers, all working from home,” Paiva said. “When you think about ordering things online, call, chat and email interactions became more important, and contact centers became core in every company.”

San Francisco-based Talkdesk now has $498 million in total funding since its inception in 2011. It was a Startup Battlefield contestant at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in 2012. The new funding follows a $143 million Series C raised last July that gave it a $3 billion valuation. Prior to that, Talkdesk brought in $100 million in 2018.

The 2020 round was planned to buoy the company’s growth and expansion to nearly 2,000 employees, Paiva said. For the Series D, there was much interest from investors, including a lot of inbound interest, he said.

“We were not looking for new money, and finished last year with more money in the bank that we raised in the last round, but the investors were great and wanted to make it work,” Paiva said.

Half of Talkdesk’s staff is in product and engineering, an area he intends to double down in with the new funding as well as adding to the headcount to support customers. The company also has plans to expand in areas where it is already operating — Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

This year, the company unveiled new features, including Talkdesk Workspace, a customizable interface for contact center teams, and Talkdesk Builder, a set of tools for customization across workspaces, routing, reporting and integrations. It also launched contact center tools designed specifically for financial services and healthcare organizations and what it is touting as the “industry’s first human-in-the-loop tool for contact centers and continues to lower the barrier to adopting artificial intelligence solutions.”

In addition to the funding, Talkdesk appointed its first chief financial officer, Sydney Carey, giving the company an executive team of 50% women, Paiva said. Carey has a SaaS background and joins the company from Sumo Logic, where she led the organization through an initial public offering in 2020.

“We were hiring our executive team over the past couple of years, and were looking for a CFO, but with no specific timeline, just looking for the right person,” Paiva added. “Sydney was the person we wanted to hire.”

Though Paiva didn’t hint at any upcoming IPO plans, TI Platform Management co-founders Trang Nguyen and Alex Bangash have followed Paiva since he started the company and said they anticipate the company heading in that direction in the future.

“Talkdesk is an example of what can happen when a strong team is assembled behind a winning idea,” they said in a written statement. “Today, Talkdesk has become near ubiquitous as a SaaS product with adoption across a broad array of industries and integrations with the most popular enterprise cloud platforms, including Salesforce, Zendesk and Slack.”

 

May
13
2020
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SirionLabs raises $44M to scale its contract management software

SirionLabs, a startup that provides contract management software to enterprises, has raised $44 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand and handle surge in demand from clients.

Tiger Global and Avatar Growth Capital led the Seattle-headquartered startup’s Series C round. The eight-year-old startup, which was founded in India, has raised $66 million to date. The new round values the startup at about $250 million. Indian VC fund Avatar has long invested in SaaS startups in India, an area that Tiger Global has also made serious bets on in recent quarters.

Enterprises broadly handle two kinds of contracts, one when they are buying things from a supplier for which they use a procurement contract, and the other when they are selling things to customers, when a sales contract comes into play.

A significant number of companies today handle these contracts manually with different teams within an organization often dealing with the same entity, which leads to discrepancies in their promises. Teams work in silos and often don’t know the terms others in the organization have already agreed upon.

That’s where SirionLabs comes into the picture. “We use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to connect the dots between contracts and what happens after the contract has been signed,” explained Ajay Agrawal, cofounder, chairman and chief executive of the startup, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“For us, it’s not just creating a contract, but also realizing the promises that have been made in those contracts,” he said. SirionLabs also audits the invoice of suppliers, which has enabled its customers to save a significant amount of money.

SirionLabs today hosts contracts in over 40 languages for more than 200 of the world’s largest companies including Credit Suisse, Vodafone, EY, Unilever, Abbvie, BP, and Fujitsu.

Agrawal said the startup has seen a 4X growth in the number of customers it has signed up in the last 18 months. Part of the new capital would go into handling their demand. He said the coronavirus crises has resulted in many companies becoming more cautious about what they promise in their contracts.

The startup, which just opened a technology center in Seattle, also plans to open an AI laboratory in the Washington state to fuel technology innovation and grow sales.

It has also hired several industry veterans including the appointment of Amol Joshi as chief revenue officer, Anu Engineer as chief technology officer, Mahesh Unnikrishnan as chief product officer, and Vijay Khera, who will serve as chief customer officer.

Vishal Bakshi, founder and managing partner at Avatar Growth Capital, said he expects SirionLabs, which competes with Apttus and Icertis among other firms, to “capture massive network effects as the platform continues to scale.”

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