Berlin-based Charles, a startup that helps companies integrate their existing ecommerce and chatbot tools into one interface, announced on Thursday (July 14, 2022) that it has raised $20M (approximately €19.52M) in a Series A round of funding.
The company says the raised capital will help it to further expand its operations from Germany into key European markets, and target larger enterprise clients.
Investors in this round
Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that claims to bring companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of Salesforce, invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce platform. The firm has invested in more than 400 companies, including DocuSign, GoCardless, Guild Education, nCino, Twilio, Zoom, and others across 22 countries since 2009.
Accel is a global venture capital firm that supports startups from inception through all phases of private company growth. Some of its portfolio companies include Atlassian, Braintree, Cloudera, DocuSign, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, and Freshworks.
HV Capital, formerly HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, invests in Internet and technology companies through various generations of funds and claims to be one of the most successful and financially strongest early-stage and growth investors in Europe. It has invested in around 200 companies, including Zalando, Delivery Hero, FlixMobility, Depop, and SumUp. The total of all HV Funds amounts to €1.7B. The company’s ticket size is between €500K and €50M.
A conversational commerce suite for consumer brands
Charles makes it possible for businesses to offer conversational marketing and commerce experiences by integrating chat app APIs like WhatsApp with platforms like Salesforce, Shopify, and many more. The company enables businesses to sell products, send newsletters and support customers with ongoing personalisation and deep system integration via chat.
The Berlin-based company was founded in 2020 by Andreas Tussing, former McKinsey ecommerce lead, and Artjem Weissbeck, former founder and CEO of Kapten & Son.
Charles was created to address an issue that its creators had personally encountered. Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing debuted a clothing line exclusively on WhatsApp in 2019. Customers praised the personalised experience, but the founders were unable to locate any software that brought together chat app assistance, sales, and newsletter features in a single location. As a result, they made the decision to change the direction of their company and create a real category creator in the “cCommerce” industry.
Co-founder Artjem Weissbeck says, “Since day one, our mission has been to make commerce more personal by bringing it into our most human habit: conversations. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp, have proven to facilitate this in Latin America and Asia by combining sales, marketing and service in one ongoing conversation. This is something ecommerce has failed to do due to the forced marriage of web shops and emails. Conversational commerce is now sweeping over Europe and there’s never been a better way for brands to wow their customers.”
In 2022, Charles predicts that a few of its 100+ software clients would reach 7-digit WhatsApp revenues and generate 10 to 40 per cent of their sales via chat. Additionally, clients have also reported that WhatsApp newsletters have 8 times higher income per recipient than email newsletters, and over 90 per cent higher opening rates. More recently, Charles has been developing a brand-new, rapidly expanding business stream.