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TOA raises $66M to eliminate hours spent waiting on the cable guy

Image Credit: Mark Sardela/Flickr

TOA Technologies has raised $66 million to create a more efficient mobile workforce.

TOA develops software-as-a-service to help businesses manage their field employees. It makes sure the right technician gets to the right address with the right tools at the right time. Its flagship product ETAdirect measures workers’ activity in the field “every minute of every day” and tracks their progress and performance. This data is run through a predictive analytics engine to estimate when service providers, like a repairmen or cable technicians, will arrive at their next appointments. The ultimate goal is to create a positive experience for the end-customer by increasing communication and efficiency, and cutting down on wait times.

Cofounder and CEO Yuval Brisker cited an IDC report which found that there will be more than 1.3 billion mobile employees in the world by 2015.

“These people need the right technology tools to be able to do their work better and more efficiently – and feel good doing it,” Brisker said to VentureBeat. “They need a way to connect to the ecosystem – from peers to superiors to those they are managing themselves – and they need a way to access the collective knowledge-base remotely. With the best tools, these mobile employees are empowered to provide the best quality of service possible. What this is really about, and what we are really focused on, is enabling mobile employees in an increasingly mobile world.”

The Ohio-based company offers products for cable and telecom, home healthcare, home services, utility, and retail businesses. It claims that organizations using the software have reported a 40 percent decrease in distance driven per appointment, 75 percent reduction in overtime, and a 47 percent increase in the rate of jobs per day. Furthermore, the ETAdirect solution can narrow a customer’s wait time window to one hour (as opposed to four to eight), and the service provider arrives within that window 96 percent of the time. It estimates that businesses can save between $5,000 to $20,000 per field employee per year.

“ETAdirect is built on the idea that people are unique, and every single one of us does work in a different kind of way,” Brisker said. “So, we need to not just respect that fact, but take full advantage of technology’s ability to be able to understand how individuals do work and then recognize those varying traits as patterns. These individual work patterns are as unique as a fingerprint. This matters because it’s the difference between a five-hour customer wait window and a two-hour window, or a mobile employee doing five appointments in a day instead of four.”

Providing a strong customer experience is a cornerstone of any business. If customers are unhappy with their service, they may defect to competitors or disseminate negative feedback. Mobile technology has created new opportunities for businesses to manage their distributed workers and stay more organized. Employees can be easily reached and monitored through smartphones, which also cuts down on the amount of human resources or supervisory personnel required to run the team. As a result mobile enterprise/ productivity products are attracting attention right now from large organizations like Salesforce, companies like Double Dutch and Taptera, and smaller startups like Springshot and GroundCntrl that add in gamifying elements for motivation.

TOA works with customers like Dish, Virgin Media, Cox, and Blue Ridge Communications to keep these organizations running as efficiently as possible. It was founded back in 2003 and has offices around the world. The company increased its annual contract value by 444 percent from 2008 to 2012, and doubled the number of new customers from 2011 to 2012.

Technology Crossover Ventures led this round, which brings TOA’s total capital raised to $96.2 million. This is the company’s fifth round of funding. Previous investors include Draper Triable Ventures, Early Stage Partners, Intel Capital, and Sutter Hill Ventures.

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