Distributed call-center outsourcing service LiveOps has announced the closure of a Series C round of funding for $28 Million. The round was lead by Benchmark Capital, a new investor in the company and a fund that rarely makes later stage investments. Benchmark’s investments in the consumer space, which more readers here may be familiar with, include Pageflakes, Bebo and Yelp among others.
Palo Alto based LiveOps offers web based management of more than 10,000 home based telephone workers. Here’s what makes them interesting: their service operates as a performance based auction, routing incoming calls to the best performing worker available. Top workers participate in IM communities to discuss methods of increasing productivity and solving problems. I like seeing the web make work more interesting and perhaps services like this will help decrease the drudgery of call-center work. At the very least, it will likely make the business more efficient. Unlike previously profiled Sky-Click, an all Skype powered call center solution, LiveOps doesn’t use VOIP at its core. (Update: The company contacted me after publication and corrected this point. LiveOps uses VOIP up to the agent’s phone.)
Prior to today, the company raised a $1 million A round and a $10 million B round from CMEA Ventures and Menlo Ventures.
Former eBay COO Maynard Webb became the LiveOps CEO in December after being introduced to the company by Benchmark’s Bill Gurley. Gurley says Webb’s background, LiveOps’ early success and the company’s strong use of the web all made the investment compelling.
Benchmark is also an investor in ODesk, another distributed workforce service for software developers.
A big part of the belief behind LiveOps is that home based workers are happier, more productive and less subject to turnover than workers in traditional brick and mortar call centers. That industry is plagued by turn over, Gurley says, including churn experienced when one company finds a good city to place a call center and competitors all rush in. The combination of self-scheduling and the comforts of home with the management of competition made possible by the web and telephony’s evolution sounds like a strong approach to business to me.