Engage.cx just closed its first investment round — US$2.9 million in Series A financing.
The round of participating investors is noteworthy, but for the CRM industry the real intrigue lays in Engage.cx’s premise — or rather, promise: how to present a unified cohesive customer service operation, no matter which channel is used.
“Here is an ex-Oracle executive trying to solve a problem that a lot of CRM vendors have never addressed properly,” said Sheryl Kingstone, director of mobile leadership strategies at 451 Research.
Other vendors — most in the industry, in fact — claim they can do this, but Engage.cx is taking a novel approach, she told CRM Buyer.
“They are addressing the problem from the orchestration side, creating a dialogue across all channels. They want to be able to offer their customers’ customer an insight-driven experience,” Kingstone explained.
Engage.cx does not yet have a track record, “but it is definitely an interesting company to watch,” she said.
On the Investors List
Among the investors participating in the round: Alston Gardner (On Target and Fulcrum Ventures); Richard Spencer (Intercontinental Exchange); Rich Sugden (Teton Data Systems); Keith Cowan (Sprint/Nextel, BellSouth); and Michael McChesney (SecureWare, S1, WebTone).
Engage.cx cofounders David Trice and Eric Bleke led the round. Bleke’s calling card is “successful serial tech entrepreneur,” but it is Trice’s pedigree that adds heft to the offering. A former Oracle executive, Trice led the rollout of Fusion CRM as vice president of CRM product management and strategy.
The Engage.cx offering, which is generally available, is unique to the CRM industry, Trice told CRM Buyer.
For starters, it is “the only one on the market solving this problem using contemporary cloud 2.0 technology,” he said. “Also, we are purpose-built from the ground up to focus on a customer’s journey with a business.”
Channel by Channel
To illustrate, Trice gave the following example: Say a customer receives an emailed coupon from a favorite retailer. Two weeks later, as the customer heads to the local retail outlet, the coupon is all but forgotten. However, during checkout, the retail clerk sees the coupon and offers to apply it to the customer’s purchase.
“An offer has been made, and the integrity of that offer should be upheld no matter the channel,” Trice said. “That is what we do: help companies honor the integrity of their offers.”
The application weaves together specific tools to reach that goal of universal personalization — that is, being able to recognize and greet customers regardless of which channel they choose to use. These include extensive customer profiles, voice of the customer technologies, and an understanding of the customer lifecycle and how it maps against the customer profile.
Pricing, Future Plans
Engage.cx has been generally available for about a year. The funding the company just received will be used largely to support sales and marketing of its application. It currently is being used by Fortune 500 companies and a regional retailer, according to Trice; he declined to specify how many customers the company has.
Engage.cx uses a pricing model that sets it apart from many CRM applications. There are no user fees; pricing is based on consumption.
Free trials give users 50,000 events a month at no charge, Trice explained. Only after exceeding that amount does a user become a paying customer.
Engage.cx is planning a spring update for release in May. New language capabilities will be a key focus, Trice said. Engage.cx has been getting inquiries from countries as far afield as Singapore, Australia, the UK and Germany.