Even without staffing shortages, local merchants have difficulty answering calls while all hands are busy, and Goodcall wants to alleviate some of that burden from America’s 30 million small businesses.
Goodcall’s free cloud-based conversational platform leverages artificial intelligence to manage incoming phone calls and boost customer service for businesses of all sizes. Former Google executive Bob Summers left Google back in January, where he was working on Area 120 — an internal incubator program for experimental projects — to start Goodcall after recognizing the call problem, noting that in fact 60% of the calls that come into merchants go unanswered.
“It’s frustrating for you and for the person calling,” Summers told TechCrunch. “Every missed call is a lost opportunity.”
Goodcall announced its launch Wednesday with $4 million in seed funding led by strategic investors Neo, Foothill Ventures, Merus Capital, Xoogler Ventures, Verissimo Ventures and VSC Ventures, as well as angel investors including Harry Hurst, founder and co-CEO of Pipe.com, and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff.
Goodcall mobile agent. Image Credits: Goodcall
Restaurants, shops and merchants can set up on Goodcall in a matter of minutes and even establish a local phone number to free up an owner’s mobile number from becoming the business’ main line. The service is initially deployed in English and the company has plans to operate in Spanish, French and Hindi by 2022.
Merchants can choose from six different assistant voices and monitor the call logs and what the calls were about. Goodcall can also capture consumer sentiment, Summers said.
The company offers three options, including its freemium service for solopreneurs and business owners, which includes up to 500 minutes per month of Goodcall services for a single phone line. Up to five additional locations and five staff members costs $19 per month for the Pro level, or the Premium level provides unlimited locations and staff for $49 per month.
During the company’s beta period, Goodcall was processing several thousands of calls per month. The new funding will be used to continue to offer the free service, hire engineers and continue product development.
In addition to the funding round, Goodcall is unveiling a partnership with Yelp to tap into its database of local businesses so that those owners and managers can easily deploy Goodcall. Yelp data shows that more than 500,000 businesses opened during the pandemic. The company pulls in from Yelp a merchant’s open hours, location, if they offer Wi-Fi and even their COVID policy.
“We are partnering with Yelp, which has the best data on small businesses, and other large distribution channels to get our product to market,” Summers said. “We are bringing technology into an industry that hasn’t innovated since the 1980s and democratizing conversational AI for small businesses that are the main driver of job creation, and we want to help them grow.”
As more companies provide more API-first services, Moesif has developed a way for those companies to learn how their customers are utilizing them.
The San Francisco-based startup is adding to its capital raise Monday with the announcement of a $12 million Series A round led by David Sacks and Arra Malekzadeh of Craft Ventures. Existing investor Merus Capital, which led Moesif’s $3.5 million seed round in 2019, also participated in the round, bringing the company’s total raise to $15.5 million, Moesif co-founder and CEO Derric Gilling told TechCrunch.
Gilling and Xing Wang founded Moesif in 2017 and went through the Alchemist Accelerator in 2018.
Companies seeking data around API usage and workflow traditionally had to build that capability in-house on top of a tech like Snowflake, Gilling said. One of the problems with that was if someone wanted a report, the process was ad hoc, meaning they would file a ticket and wait until a team had time to run the report. In addition, companies find it difficult to accurately bill customers on usage or manage when someone exceeds the rate limits.
“We started to see people build on top of our platform and pull data on APIs, and they started asking us how to directly serve customers, like making them aware if they are hitting a rate limit,” Gilling added. “We started to build new functionality and a way to customize the look and feel of the platform.”
Moesif provides self-service analytics that can be accessed daily and features to scale analytics in a more cost-effective manner. Customers use it to monitor features to better understand when there are issues with the API, and there are additional capabilities to understand who is using the API, how often and who may be likely to stop using a product based on how they are using it.
The company is also now seeing its revenue grow over 20% month over month this year and adoption by more diverse use cases and larger companies. At the time of the seed round, the company was just getting started with analytics and user trials, Gilling said. Today, it boasts a customer list that includes UPS, Tomorrow.io, Symbl.ai and Deloitte.
The company has also gone from a team of two to nine employees, and Gilling expects to use the new funding to bolster that roster across engineering, sales, developer relations and customer success.
He is also focusing on being a thought leader in the space and is pushing go-to-market and building out a new set of features to monetize APIs and improve its dashboard to better differentiate Moesif from competitors, which he said focus more on server health versus customer usage.
As part of the investment, Craft Ventures’ Malekzadeh is joining Moesif’s board. She was introduced to Gilling by another portfolio company and felt Moesif fit into Crafts’ thesis on SaaS companies.
Malekzadeh’s particular interest is in developer tools, and while in her previous position working at a startup developing APIs, she felt firsthand the pain point of not being able to know how those APIs were being used, how much customers should be billed and “was always bugging the product and engineering teams for reports.”
Moesif didn’t exist at the time she worked at the startup, and instead, her company had to build it own tools that turned out to be clunky, while at the same time recruiting top engineers that didn’t want to take up their time with building something that wasn’t the company’s core product.
“The two founders are highly technical, but they provided great content on their website that helped me learn about them,” Malekzadeh added. “One of the interesting things about them is that even though they are technical, they speak the same language as a business user, which makes them special as a developer-first company. Just the growth in their revenue was super impressive, and their customer references were glowing.”