Amsterdam-based cloud communication unicorn MessageBird, has announced the acquisition of two startups in its mission to transform the way businesses interact with their customers.
MessageBird acquires 24sessions and Hull
The company has acquired Amsterdam-based 24sessions – a video-first customer engagement platform, and Atlanta-based Customer Data Platform (CDP) Hull.io – a startup that gathers all customer data in one place.
The development follows MessageBird’s recent acquisition of London-based real-time web technologies company Pusher and four months after its Series C funding announcement.
In an exclusive conversation with Silicon Canals, Robert Vis, Founder & CEO of MessageBird, says that he cannot confirm the deal’s amount, however, he did inform us that the three acquisitions of 24sessions, Hull.io, and Pusher total around $100M.
The company was founded in 2015 by Konstantin Goncharuk and Rutger Teunissen. 24sessions is the video-first customer engagement platform that allows companies to connect with customers in a single click via seamless and embedded mobile video interactions. It does this through a suite of appointment scheduling, secure video-calling, and AI analytics technology.
Most of the enterprise video services require a consumer to join through their (mobile) app, 24sessions embeds directly onto a business’ website, allowing trusted, instant, and effortless video interactions without any installations.
The company has a customer base in the financial services industry and public sector, as it offers a secure, feature-rich solution for personal customer engagement at scale. In addition, it also serves enterprises in the insurance and utility sector.
Rutger Teunissen, CEO of 24sessions, says, “By joining forces with MessageBird, we’re making a leap forward in our mission to improve personal customer contact and turn it into a smooth digital experience, without losing the human touch. Video has become a more embedded, instant, intelligent, and integrated part of the omnichannel customer experience. Together with MessageBird, we can continue to drive its power as one of the primary channels for high-value customer contact.”
24sessions will remain as a standalone product, offered to customers as part of MessageBird’s omnichannel suite. As for the co-founder Rutger Teunissen, he will continue to lead the 24sessions business unit, and he will join as head of 24sessions. “In this capacity, he will further develop our video solution from both a product and a go-to-market perspective,” Vis tells Silicon Canals.
He also reveals that the entire staff of 24sessions – 45 people – will be staying on board post-acquisition. 24sessions has raised a total of $1.5M to date.
CDP Expansion – Hull
According to Hull, the use of data and technology to find, acquire and care for customers has not been easy. And often, that data remains isolated within tools and teams. This is what Hull helps solve.
Hull solves this problem by collecting, enriching, and synchronising data without any code so that you can orchestrate personal, relevant experiences by using your existing tools. The result is a seamless experience for your customers as well as your sales, marketing, and support teams.
Hull’s tools include:
- Unified customer profiles – to capture & show everything about each person & company
- Processor – to transform your customer data in any way, in real-time
- Segmentation tool – to query your entire customer database, compute segments & filter data flows in real-time
- Integrations – to map, filter & sync customer data across all your tools & databases
The company was founded in 2013 by Jimmy Oliger, Matthieu Chereau, Romain Dardour, Stefan Koenig, and Stéphane Bellity.
Aim of these acquisitions
MessageBird owned services already include SMS, voice, email, OTT, social, live chat, and push.
Speaking about 24sessions, Robert Vis, Founder & CEO of MessageBird, says, “Bringing a safe, secure, and customisable video platform into the MessageBird family is the next step in our strategic journey and something we’re very excited about. The addition of 24sessions’ video platform gives us one of the world’s most comprehensive and powerful omnichannel offerings and is consistent with our having end-to-end control of the stack in order to create magical experiences for our customers.”
As for the Hull team, it will join the MessageBird CDP team to create an in-depth analytics layer between its extensive channel offering and the workflow solutions it provides to customers.
Vis adds, “We want to empower clients to have easy, frictionless conversations with customers, so it’s crucial that we understand where those customers are and how they like to communicate. To do that, it’s crucial that our platform is able to collect, unify and enrich product, marketing, and sales data and synchronise it across the workflow.”
With these acquisitions, a total of 45 staff will join from 24sessions, whilst Hull will bring 14. The combined deals will bring MessageBird’s total headcount to almost 500 people across its nine hubs globally.
The (encrypted) video market in B2B and the financial industry
Talking about the encrypted video market, Vis says, “It’s a transformative moment for the encrypted video market. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced everything to go remote, but now businesses are starting to think about what the plan should be once that’s no longer a mandated imperative. And, frankly, many of them won’t need anywhere near as many face-to-face interactions with customers as they had before.”
Vis adds, “As an example: we believe that a significant portion of banking customers won’t need to visit a branch ever again. Encrypted video is fundamental to that, as customers still expect to be able to speak with another human being – they just don’t want to have to travel halfway across town and stand in line for 20 minutes to do it. The level of security and quality that 24sessions, and now MessageBird, is able to give to clients means their end-users won’t have to.”
MessageBird is a cloud communications platform that connects enterprises to their global customers. The company was founded in 2011 by Adriaan Mol and Robert Vis.
Earlier this year, MessageBird launched Inbox.ai, which enables customers to communicate with businesses practically through any channel of their choosing, including – WhatsApp, SMS, Voice, Messenger, Instagram, WeChat, RCS, Line, and Telegram.
The company’s product line also includes a Chat Widget and Flow Builder. The Chat Widget helps convert static pages into dynamic conversations. Whereas the Flow Builder is an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) platform that enables auto-replies creation and message routing. These services are also available via an API or an Application Programming Interface for easier integration with different platforms.
MessageBird claims to have more than 20,000 customers, from established brands such as Lufthansa Airlines, Heineken, Hugo Boss, Rituals Cosmetics, and SAP, as well as rapidly-growing disruptors such as Uber, HelloFresh, and Deliveroo. It has offices in Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, Bogota, London, Shanghai, Dublin, Hamburg, and Sydney.
So far, it has raised over $300M (approx €245M) in funding.
Talking about Messagebird’s IPO plans, Vis tells Silicon Canals, “At the moment, there is no specific timeline in place for a near-term IPO. But we’re fortunate to be in a position where we don’t have any immediate need to access the public market for cash, so we don’t have to rush into any decisions. We are prepared to hold off and move when we’re certain our business and the market are ready.”