Funny what can happen with a small project you hack together just to win a laptop.
For Portugal-born startup Talkdesk, it turned into a full-fledged business, and today it’s announcing that it has raised $3.15 million in a new round of funding.
Born out of a contest that cloud communications company Twilio put on in 2011 with a laptop as a prize, Talkdesk is a “call center in the browser.” Talkdesk’s customers can set up a call center within minutes in their browser without having to download and set up complicated software. Calls come in through their browser, pulling up the caller’s history and information, and can easily be rerouted to other agents, tracked, and analyzed.
Talkdesk also integrates with a number of other business tools, including Zendesk, Desk.com, Salesforce, SugarCRM, HelpScout, and many others. Although its integration level varies from tool to tool, it generally enables syncing from Talkdesk to the other services for a streamlined workflow for agents. For example, since Talkdesk integrates inside of Salesforce, salespeople can make and take calls right from their leads’ files, where they can easily access all the information they need so they don’t have to juggle multiple apps.
As mentioned, Talkdesk started out as a contest entry. Co-founders Tiago Paiva and Cristina Fonseca built the first version using Twilio’s API, which enabled voice calls to be made over the Internet, Paiva told VentureBeat in an interview. The team was selected to present at Twilio’s conference, and that same day was invited to be part of 500 Startup’s third batch.
“We started with the simple idea back in Portugal at the end of 2011,” Paiva said.
Since then, Talkdesk has been continuously improving its product, adding features and integrations. Around the middle of 2013, Talkdesk finally had a version it was satisfied with and started to really sell it to customers.
Now the company is on track to make $4 million in revenue for 2014, has more than 1,000 customers, and has a team of 25 people (up from six not very long ago).
Up next, Talkdesk wants to keep adding more and deeper integrations into its product. For example, it’s currently working to nest its product inside Zendesk just as it has already done with Salesforce, so customer support reps can handle calls right from their online help desks.
“Our goal is to be able to build more into the enterprise market,” said Paiva. The company’s current customers range from small businesses all the way up to large enterprises. In addition to the above type of integrations, Talkdesk also lets its customers use their own telecom providers instead of Twilio, with larger enterprises often having special deals with AT&T, Verizon, and so on, Paiva said.
Currently, Talkdesk competes with companies such as Five9, Genesys, and the like.
Storm Ventures led this round of funding, contributing $3 million, with participation from existing investor 500 Startups.
Talkdesk plans to use most of the new funding to beef up its team, especially on the sales and marketing front. To that effect, it has recently hired Brendon Cassidy as its new vice president of worldwide sales. Cassidy was previously Adobe EchoSign’s vice president of sales and was LinkedIn’s first head of sales.
Talkdesk is now based in Mountain View, Calif. It previously raised $450,000 in seed funding from 500 Startups and a host of angel investors.