BirdEye, a software company focused on helping its clients improve their business reputations and customer experiences in real time, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Trinity Ventures. As part of the investment, Trinity’s Ajay Chopra has joined the board.
Plenty of Silicon Valley luminaries also piled into the round, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff; Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang; Square’s project engineering lead Gokul Rajaram; Kevin Weil (the former Twitter product head who just hightailed it to Instagram); BranchOut founder Rick Marini; Haystack founder Semil Shah; and angel investor Ellen Levy.
To learn more about the company, which has been bootstrapped until now, we chatted earlier this week with CEO Naveen Gupta, who was formerly chief product officer at the telephony software company Ring Central, and whose BirdEye cofounder is his brother, Neeraj, a longtime technical lead at Yahoo.
Gupta says that what the company does in a nutshell is “intelligent reputation marketing.” To underscore how it works, he makes up an example, noting that these days, “If your pizza is burned, you go to Twitter and write ‘[So and so’s] pizza was burned.’ You go to Yelp and Urbanspoon and post negative reviews about your experience, or you tell your friends on Facebook.”
BirdEye collects signals from all that unstructured data and provides the pizza company with a measurement of its business health based on those findings.
Once the client company fixes its act, step two is to amplify the good things people are saying about that company. Was the pizza delicious? Was your car ready for you when you showed up to rent it?
Consumers can let the company know by responding to a quick SMS message they’re likely to receive shortly after the pizza was delivered, or while they’re still standing in the rental car parking lot. (Among BirdEye’s related feedback mechanisms are tweets, surveys, and other fields that make reviews simple to create.)
It isn’t a new idea; BirdEye has plenty of competition (though Gupta insists that because it isn’t a pure-play reputation company, that it doesn’t compete with 90 percent of the startups in its space).
Still, BirdEye is apparently getting some high marks. Gupta says it already works with more than 10,000 customers and that, before taking on funding, BirdEye, which has 40 employees, had turned profitable. (It charges customers anywhere from $2,400 per year to several hundred thousand dollars annually, depending on their size.)
The plan now is to build the next generation of the platform and expand it for bigger enterprises. Though it built its business by catering largely to small and medium-size businesses, Gupta says that “increasingly, we’re being pulled up market. Now we want to fulfill the use case for Fortune 100 companies, too.”
Photo courtesy of BirdEye. Pictured left to right, Neeraj and Naveen Gupta