December 6, 2019

A former Salesforce VP has raised 4 rounds of funding in 18 months for a startup called Kustomer. His model: Salesforce.

Kustomer CEO Brad Birnbaum

Former Salesforce executive and customer relationship management software veteran Brad Birnbaum wants to modernize customer relationship management software with his latest startup Kustomer, founded in 2015.
Birnbaum previously founded Assistly, a company that offered an instant customer-service help desk hosted in the cloud and was focused on small businesses and startups. It was acquired by Salesforce for $50 million in 2011.
Now with Kustomer, Birnbaum wants to modernize the tools customer service agents use to help them. And it’s looking to grow rapidly— the startup just raised $60 million in Series E funding, it’s fourth time raising funding in the last 18 months.
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Former Salesforce executive Brad Birnbaum thinks it’s time to modernize customer relationship management software and that’s exactly what he is looking to do with his latest company Kustomer.

“We’ve modeled ourselves to become a modern Salesforce,” Birnbaum told Business Insider.

Birnbaum is a veteran of the customer relationship management software space. In 1995 he founded his first service company called eShare. At the time, the company was providing enterprise internet-based customer support, when not many were working in that space. Eshare provided services to companies like Microsoft, Dell, AOL and Sprint.

Fast forward to 2009, he co-founded a customer service company called Assistly, and served as its CTO. The company offered an instant customer-service help desk hosted in the cloud and was focused on small businesses and startups. Two years later, in 2011, it was acquired by Salesforce for $50 million.

Salesforce eventually renamed Assistly as and it came its product offering for small businesses inside of Salesforce’s larger platform. Birnbaum worked at Salesforce for three years after as a VP of engineering.

And now Birnbaum’s looking to disrupt the market again.

“I’ve spent my whole career in the customer service space, I’ve seen it evolve and I’ve seen that the world is looking for a modern solution. They are looking for something that knows everything about the customers,” Birnbaum said.

Treat customers like people and not tickets

When Birnbaum started Kustomer in 2015, he said he saw an opportunity to do it better than legacy companies like Salesforce, Zendesk and Oracle. It’s a cloud based customer service platform, not dissimilar to Salesforce.

“We actually don’t see it as a crowded space, we see it as a space with a lot of traditional products and it’s really hard for them to modernize because they were built in a different generation … so the opportunity is quite large.” He adds that the market for customer service itself is growing rapidly so there is space for new players like Kustomer.

He thinks customer service platforms now have to treat people like people and not tickets, and they have to leverage artificial intelligence and automation to automate some tasks customer service agents have to do, in order to more quickly solve customer’s issues.

Kustomer is hoping to be that modern offering. And the company is investing in that goal. It just raised $60 million in …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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