The world continues to shift more of its customer service needs online, and those building tools to help manage that demand are seeing their stars rise as a result. In the latest development, Glia — which builds AI-based customer service solutions for agents to converse with customers across multiple mediums (including video, voice, messaging, email and chatbots), and then to screenshare to give hands-on help to those users — has closed a new round of funding, a Series D of $45 million that catapults the company’s valuation to over $1 billion.
Insight Partners led the round, with Wildcat Capital Management and a new strategic backer, the unified business communications giant RingCentral, also participating. Insight and Wildcat are previous backers, including in Glia’s $78 million Series C round in January 2021. The company — headquartered in New York with a substantial team also in Tallinn, Estonia — has now raised more than $150 million overall, it said.
Glia made a name for itself originally providing CRM tools to the finance industry, and that is where it still counts the majority of its customers. It says that more than 250 banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other financial services businesses currently use its tools to help its customer service teams field support questions — and, because so much customer service is interlinked with sales these days, potentially upsell those customers to more services.
As with the previous round, the funding will largely be going toward R&D. Specifically Glia plans to build more tools leveraging artificial intelligence and analytics to support customer service agents’ direct work with customers — both to help them with basic support questions, as well as in those cases where they screen share with customers to get walked through a problem, and to subsequently navigate them to fixing an issue.
To date, it said it has handled over 10 billion interactions, making for a healthy trove of data that gets used to train and develop its machine learning algorithms. Glia will also be investing into bringing more advances into its messaging, voice and video solutions.
Finally, Glia will also be investing in business devopment to expand further internationally. Publicly traded RingCentral has hundreds of multinational customers, and so Glia will likely be investing more into building services to address that global clientele.
Dan Michaeli, Glia’s CEO who co-founded the company with Carlos Paniagua (CTO) and Justin DiPietro (COO), told me last year that the pandemic gave his business a major push: with more business being carried out online, that had a natural effect on customer support getting more digital, too: revenues went up 150% between 2020 and 2021.
As the world settles down (we hope) in the wake of COVID-19 becoming endemic and something we can live with (again, we hope), customer service is unlikely to shift away from those digital channels, he said.
“The future of customer service is digital, and those that have yet to take steps to modernize their support and engagement strategies are already behind,” he said in a statement. “We’re thrilled by our investors’ confidence reflected in the round’s valuation, recognizing that we’ve only scratched the surface of what Glia can accomplish. Our rapid growth and successful relationships with financial services companies of all types demonstrates the urgent need for Digital Customer Service. As we build upon a decade of innovation, this capital will further extend our reach and help even more businesses across the globe reimagine how they connect with customers digitally.”
Indeed, even when customers today still opt to dial a number and speak to someone over the phone to ask questions about a product or service — and voice remains a popular channel — they will do so with “their screens in front of them,” as he described it to me last year.
The blended approach, and the attention to providing tech-based webbing to make the transition from one to the other easier for all kinds of users, is what has attracted investors to Glia so far.
“As enterprises digitize processes and services across the board, digital communication is inevitable, and Glia is leading the way in digitally transforming customer service,” said Lonne Jaffe, MD at Insight Partners, in a statement. “We’re investing more into the company because of its extraordinary growth and momentum and the enormous size of the market opportunity.”
Updated to note that the company is not co-headquartered in Estonia, but has a substantial operation there.