“Many sales teams now see WhatsApp as their secret weapon,” says Wen Shaw, CEO and co-founder of a tech company. cooby. The problem, he points out, is that managing WhatsApp interactions with customers becomes increasingly difficult as businesses grow. That’s where Cooby, announcing the completion of a $2.9 million funding round today, comes in.
Granted, WhatsApp has a huge reach, with over 2 billion active users worldwide. For businesses, the messaging app offers an engaging way to interact with customers and prospects – it feels less formal and more immediate than email and other more traditional customer communication channels. Customers love it too – they get real-time answers to their questions and queries, in a format they’re used to from other parts of their lives.
However, professional use of WhatsApp can cause problems. Operating outside of normal company systems and channels, it can be difficult to track WhatsApp messaging. The company has no easy way to keep track of what staff members have discussed with customers – what commitments have been made, for example, or what issues a certain customer might be having. “As businesses evolve, it becomes more and more difficult – your communications with customers are not connected to your other business tools,” says Shaw.
Enter Cooby, he adds. “Cooby is a tool that improves the flow of information,” says Shaw. “This ensures that everyone in the business can be on the same page when it comes to customers.”
Concretely, this means that Cooby’s tools aggregate employees’ WhatsApp activity to improve visibility across the company. The aim is to break down silos: individual conversations are no longer blocked in each staff member’s WhatsApp accounts; the company can thus intervene as and when needed, based on a complete view of each conversation.
Cooby actually offers two different products. First, its engagement tools allow every WhatsApp user in the company to organize their accounts more efficiently – for example, to group customers by need or stage, take notes and set reminders – so to boost their productivity. Users can even view their clients’ LinkedIn profiles to better see who they are talking to.
Secondly, Cooby also offers a “team space tool”, allowing companies to manage their WhatsApp engagement from one place and create a database of conversations; businesses can even use it to analyze the quality of their leads and engagement. “It provides full transparency in WhatsApp, enabling a smooth flow of data, insights and feedback that empowers every level of the sales organization to scale and achieve better results,” says Shaw.
It’s an approach that seems to resonate with businesses that have adopted WhatsApp as their customer communication channel. Cooby only went live last year, but already has customers in over 80 countries and has over 20,000 users so far.
It operates as a software-as-a-service model, with most customers signing annual contracts to use Cooby’s tools. Some elements of the service are free, with paying customers guaranteeing access to premium services.
The company’s rapid growth has also caught the attention of investors, with the funding round announced today led by Sequoia India’s Surge and Pear VC. The Taiwanese company is the first company in the country to join the Surge program for Asian start-ups.
Shaw, whose career includes stints at Facebook, Dropbox and IBM, works closely with co-founder Jocelin Ho, who previously worked at Google, Ericsson and Google. “Messaging apps now dominate the way companies talk to their customers, but they need a way to manage that,” he says. Cooby’s tools provide that – for WhatsApp, but also for the Line messaging app.