ManyChat raises $18M to help businesses tap into messaging

Mobile marketing company ManyChat has raised $18 million in Series A funding.

The startup, co-founded by CEO Mikael Yang, is currently focused on Facebook Messenger. It offers tools for creating a bot on Messenger while also supporting live human chatting (ManyChat says its approach is a “smart blend of automation and personal outreach”), and additional options like advertising to get more users to engage with your messaging channels.

ManyChat is just one of several startups hoping to build a business around Facebook Messenger bots, but this sounds like a product that businesses are actually using. The company says more than 1 million accounts have been created on the platform, with customers coming from e-commerce, traditional retail, gyms, beauty salons restaurants and more.

Those customers have collectively enlisted 350 million Messenger subscribers, and there are 7 billion messages sent on the platform each month. Plus, with an average open rate of 80 percent, these messages are actually being read.

The funding was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Flint Capital. Bessemer’s Ethan Kurzweil is joining the board of directors, while the firm’s Alex Ferrara also becomes a board observer.

“ManyChat is at the forefront of a major shift in how businesses market to customers,” Kurzweil said in the funding announcement. “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ email lists and static forms get replaced with a more personalized and conversational approach to customer engagement.”

He added that the company’s work with Messenger is “only the beginning”: “With Instagram, WhatsApp, RCS, and others on the horizon, there’s endless potential to scale.”