Take Blip, an online messaging platform for businesses, announced today that it has raised $70 million in a Series B round led by Warburg Pincus. CEO Roberto Oliveira said the capital, bringing Take Blip’s total to $170 million, will be spent on product development, mergers and acquisitions and customer acquisition.
Not every customer prefers to text companies. But a growing number are doing so — at least according to studies commissioned by platforms with messaging services to sell. Messaging supplier Avochato found it that nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents would switch to a company that messages instead of calls, while Yotpo — an e-commerce marketing company — reports that more than half of shoppers want to receive text messages from brands.
As questionable as the sources are, Take Blip’s success is some evidence that there is demand from the business side. Brazil-based Take Blip was founded more than 20 years ago – in 1999 – by Oliveira, Daniel Costa (head of people), Sérgio Passos (CTO), Marcelo Oliveira and Antônio Oliveira. business interactions across various channels including WhatsApp, Instagram, Apple Messages for Business, Google Business Chat, and Telegram.
“In the early stages of the internet 20 years ago, every business needed a website because people started experiencing the brands online and started using Google to search for brands and products,” Oliveira told gotechbusiness.com via email. “What we’re seeing now is a new paradigmatic shift to conversations… People are spending time in social conversations online, with friends and family in seamless dialogue, which Take Blip is trying to replicate for businesses… Blip’s true value proposition is to ensure that the ability to understand customer feedback and enable rapid evolution.”
Take, for example, Blip customers, including Coca-Cola and Nestlé, who are given tools to automate conversations with chatbots that can relay complex issues to customer service agents. Like many messaging vendors, Take Blip also offers analytics to monitor rep performance — a feature that some might struggle with (especially considering the company keeps data for up to five years). But Oliveira argues that it is necessary to maintain a certain level of service.
“Brands, instead of using their own applications, are migrating to messaging services already used by consumers,” Oliveira said. “Since early 2020, this movement has increased. With the restrictions on the operation of stores and call centers caused by the pandemic, advertisers have been looking for quick solutions integrated into the daily lives of the public… The pandemic strengthened the purchase and contracting of services by [our] platform.”
Take Blip recently added new campaign management and user flow analytics tools for creating marketing campaigns on WhatsApp and helping customers optimize their “conversation design” (i.e., dialogue flow). Other additions to the platform in recent months include a mobile app for agents, payment support for conversation, and the Blip Store, a marketplace of extensions, templates, and apps.
“Take Blip helps brands reshape every process in the customer journey – including discovery, marketing, engagement, sales, customer support – by leveraging AI technologies and business messaging platforms,” said Oliveira. “Brands can have one-on-one conversations with an endless stream of interactions with every customer… People’s requests, intentions and desires can be recorded and used to align [our AI] engine [so that brands] can implement a feedback loop to ensure that every new interaction with customers will get better in the future. We use conversation data to create language models [with the goal of] helping our customers understand what they need to improve on in their conversational applications to deliver ever-better experiences”
The question is whether Take Blip can compete with a growing number of rivals in the omnichannel messaging space. Several are formidable – Glia, MessageBird, and GupShup all have valuations of over $1 billion. While Take Blip claims to have 3,000 customers and more than 1,300 employees, economic headwinds, including a delay in advertising threaten to affect growth.
Oliveira expressed confidence that Take Blip can weather the storm.
“We have more than 240,000 users on our platform, more than 50,000 of them are users registered in 2022… [and we] just crossed over $100 million in annual recurring revenue this quarter. [The company] was started up and paid dividends until 2020,” he said. “We are following this broader technology slowdown closely, refining our financial projections and being highly selective with our investments. At the same time, we are pleased with our numbers and the rapid growth. One thing that could be an opportunity is to speed up some acquisition talks.”