Pam, who answers the phone at Dunder Mifflin, has become one of the most iconic refrains of life at The Office, and it’s really no wonder it was: Businesses large and small have long worked with communications delivered via PBXs, voicemail, Played cold and warm are phone calls, customer hotlines and, more recently, that essential cell phone you always have with you. However, all of that has slowly but surely changed and today one of the startups that hopes to be a leader in breaking this tune is announcing funding as it finds some growth and is currently getting about 10 million calls and messages monthly for its sent to customers.
OpenPhonewhich offers users a Business Line and related phone services through a smartphone app, which in turn becomes a user’s business phone separate from their personal cell phones, has raised $40 million, a Series B in which it will continue to invest in expanding what’s on offer Communication and collaboration services and building deeper integrations with the other productivity tools its customers are already using.
Tiger Global — known in the venture world for big growth rounds but more recently more active in earlier-stage, smaller investments — is leading this Series B, with previous backers Craft Ventures, Slow Ventures, Garage Capital and Worklife Ventures also participating. Craft introduced OpenPhones $14 million Series A in 2020with a slow lead seed earlier this year. Previously, the company went through Y Combinator back in 2018. To date, it has raised $56 million.
OpenPhone founders Mahyar Raissi and Daryna Kulya, also married to each other from Iran and Ukraine respectively, are aware that they are not the first to have thought of reinventing the humble business phone system.
Over the years, PBXs and basic phones have been replaced by IP PBXs and IP phones. Telcos and managed services providers have had numerous stabs at the nebulous concept of “unified communications” in this context; Now, OTT solutions like Zoom and other web-based video conferencing solutions are so easy to use (and still give people voice-based and dial-in options) that they’ve taken over many conference calls, and Skype has integrated in and out lines for those who are freelance or work mainly alone; many people have stopped checking voicemails and so messaging has become a much bigger part of the equation; Call centers try to make them harder to call (and they can be really frustrating when you reach them); some have given up landlines entirely to only use their cell phones to handle all their work calls; and so forth.
In this context, OpenPhone’s unique selling proposition in the market, Raissi told me, is that it has developed a system aimed at the SMEs, bringing elements from all of the above in a format that presents the least friction of all: a App that you can use with your regular phone, but which gives a person a dedicated work phone number and a growing number of related tools to help them communicate with colleagues and customers.
He said that Google Phone could potentially have posed a significant competitive threat to the company in the US — San Francisco-based OpenPhone’s current primary market — but it didn’t offer users customer support, essentially dropping the race to find a bigger one Address wave of businesses moving beyond single-user early adopters.
As you can imagine with a YC startup, the company found its earliest appeal with other entrepreneurs going through YC and it has grown with its users, gradually introducing more services such as PBX replacements and integrations with established CRMs and sales software. The idea is to bring some of the ethos of services like Slack to the phone environment.
“We’re building phone services for today’s phone usage,” Raissi said, “so messaging is really important, as is collaboration around a phone number. You could have a common number for a team and just collaborate on text messages and activities. We bring collaboration to the phone.”
Open Phone raises $40M to replace your work phone and office PBX with an app – TechCrunch Source link Open Phone raises $40M to replace your work phone and office PBX with an app – TechCrunch