Freespee, which these days calls itself a “real-time conversation cloud technology company,” has raised €9.25 million in Series B funding. French venture capital firm Ventech led the round, alongside existing investors Sunstone Capital and Inventure. Silicon Valley Bank also participated, signalling that this is a mixture equity and debt financing.
Founded all the way back in 2009, Freespee has come a long way since its original click-to-call ad proposition. It no longer positions itself as an adtech company that makes it easier for online brands to encourage customers to call, including offering click-to-call analytics, but instead offers a much broader cloud marketing platform, with a focus on “conversational commerce”.
The Freespee platform lets companies keep track of and measure the return of investment for conversations it has with prospective customers that originate from a brand’s own web property or mobile app, regardless of what channel — phone, chat or email — those conversations take place. It also enables the resulting marketing to be personalised for each customer.
“There is no simple way for a brand to understand how customer communications through phone, chat and email influence and help grow its internet business,” Says Carl Holmquist, Freespee co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “We’re building a cloud that gives marketers and e-commerce professionals access to these legacy technology stacks”.
Holmquist’s reference to “legacy technology stacks” refers to the way conversations with customers across email, a pop up chat box on a company’s website, or via a click-to-call phone call, typically sit in silos that make it difficult to integrate into existing marketing, analytics and CRM tools.
Customer conversations often jump from one channel to the next, perhaps starting with an email and moving to a phone call, posing another problem for a company’s marketing department and how it can possibly measure return of investment (ROI).
The result is that it’s difficult or impossible for marketers to track return of investment for a particular campaign or channel, or to personalise their marketing message accordingly. Freespee aims to consolidate this conversation data to give brands the full conversational commerce picture.
As an example, a prospective customer may visit a carmaker’s mobile website, look at a few models, and eventually book a test drive over the phone and via click-to-call. However, without tracking the customer from one conversation channel to another there is a high likelihood that, thanks to re-targeting, they’ll see ads prompting them to book a test drive when they have already done so. In this instance a different ad or message would be more appropriate.
To that end, Freespee counts major brands such as Allianz, Lloyds, eBay, Bupa, Marriott Hotels and Peugeot, as customers. “By working with Ventech and our other investors, new and old, we will continue to pioneer new ways to allow our customers to monitor, manage and personalise the experience of every conversation taking place through their desktop web, mobile web and apps,” adds Holmquist.