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zendeskZendesk, a maker of customer service software used by companies such as Twitter, MSNBC and IDEO, has raised $6 million in a second round of funding, led by Benchmark Capital.

There are plenty of companies offering competing help desk software, but Zendesk has drawn particular attention from some of Silicon Valley’s leading investors for its focus on what it calls the “help desk 2.0 movement.” It offers its service over the Web (it runs entirely from the browser, as a software as a service; no downloads), and it sits in the cloud. Customers can correspond directly with the help desk (video demo below).

Companies of all sizes can use the Zendesk system to collect and respond efficiently to help tickets filed by their users. Any request a user submits to the system generates a ticket. The system then determines whether to send a canned response. If and when a solution is provided, it is recorded in a database for future reference. All of this information is stored in the cloud to be accessed by authorized personnel from anywhere. It offers widget support and a REST-based interface (a protocol making for easier, direct communication between Web services), which makes for easier integration with other applications.

As part of the deal, Peter Fenton of Benchmark will join Zendesk’s board of directors. Fenton has been on a roll recently, having seen several big exits, including SpringSource, JBoss, Wily and Friendfeed. Benchmark has also had experience investing in companies that outsource help, such as Odesk, so Zendesk’s endorsement by Benchmark (and by Fenton in particular) is significant.

The Boston-based company said it will use the funds to open a San Francisco office, among other things.

Charles River Ventures led a round of capital just three months ago
and participated in this second round. Zendesk was founded in 2007 and says it has more than 1,000 customers, which include Books-a-Million, John Lewis and Scribd.


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