LiveOps, an early mover in the area of cloud-based enterprise services — focusing specifically on contact center and customer service — is today announcing a $30 million round of funding; the creation of a new subsidiary structure, LiveOps Cloud Platform and LiveOps Agent Services; and a new acquisition — the Canadian startup UserEvents — to help fill out the platform business.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but we are trying to find out.
The $30 million, in debt funding coming entirely from Comerica Bank, is the largest-ever round raised by LiveOps and points to a couple of things. The first is the growing interest that enterprise cloud services continue to see among both users and investors. The second is how LiveOps — which has been around since 2001 but last raised money as far back as 2007 — is moving to take advantage of wider cloud trend.
LiveOps has now raised $81 million to date, with previous investors including Menlo Ventures, Benchmark, Scott Banister and LiveOps’ former CEO Bill Trenchard (who is now a partner at First Round Capital).
UserEvents is LiveOps’ second acquisition. It also acquired DataSquirt in 2011 and has made strategic investments in other companies, such as participating in a $500,000 seed investment for app maker Zappli.
Part of the reason for buying UserEvents — and its main product CxEngage — is to expand the services that LiveOps offers to enterprises on the LiveOps platform: like other enterprise-focused IT companies, adding more services increases the touchpoints that LiveOps can have with customers.
In this case, CxEngage is a contextual routing engine that is able to aggregate and process customer feedback from different channels such as social, web, mobile and voice calls, and then present this to an enterprise in real time to help either with customer calls and also with larger strategic decisions. It will sit alongside the social media assets that it picked up via Datasquirt. UserEvents will become part of new LiveOps Cloud Platform subsidiary.
“LiveOps has quietly disrupted industry and brand expectations for customer experience management,” said Marty Beard, chairman and CEO, LiveOps, in a statement.
“With this acquisition we are further challenging old ways of doing business. It is no longer enough to measure customer satisfaction for each channel separately. Consumers shift between channels, and contact centers must adapt to better manage these fragmented interactions across voice, email, chat, social and SMS. By incorporating real-time, contextual routing and proactive customer engagement into the LiveOps Platform we will provide a better experience across the entire customer journey.”
The example of better experience that Beard gives is of how a company can offer “priority treatment” to users based on their other online activities related to the company, say by monitoring mentions on social media and then a customer support agent responding to a users’ tweet. In fact, what this does is place LiveOps in closer proximity to companies like HootSuite and Salesforce in terms of creating “listening” platforms that go beyond simple marketing and start to get used to help the company operate more efficiently. It’s an area that the likes of Deutsche Telekom is also looking to develop in partnership with Twitter.
“A brand who has intelligence across all touch points, can sense that you are getting frustrated online and offer you proactive live help at just the right moment to ensure you have a great experience. That is what LiveOps can do with CxEngage, Beard says.
The other new LiveOps subsidiary, LiveOps Agent Services, will focus on its outsourcing business. This comprises 20,000 independent agents who work from home to hand some 70 million interactions a year, currently for over 250 clients.