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News Analysis - Cisco joins Helpshift Series B round

On November 22nd, the mobile and in-app customer support technology company Helpshift announced that Cisco investments joined into Helpshift’s Series B financing round, increasing the amount of raised capital to more than $38.2 Million. With this investment decision Cisco Investments joins Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventres, Nexus Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, True Ventures and Visionnaire Ventures.
Here the announcement:
Cisco Investments Joins Helpshift Series B Round

Additional Capital Raised in Successful Funding Round Enables Helpshift to Become a Driving Force in the Evolution of Contact Centers


SAN FRANCISCO - NOV. 22 2016
Helpshift, the company revolutionizing the customer support industry through enterprise-level, in-app customer experiences, today announced that Cisco Investments has recently joined their Series B funding round, which follows previous investors such as Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. As one of Cisco Investments’ portfolio companies, Helpshift and Cisco will also explore opportunities to integrate Helpshift’s in-app customer support solutions with Cisco’s leading contact center solutions.

As the world rapidly moves to adopt in-app support for business to consumer communication, Helpshift’s Series B round continues to enable the company to take autonomous customer support to the next level. Additionally, as mobile replaces the web as the primary channel through which customers engage, the $350 Billion contact center industry is expected to take advantage of this new channel.

“Apps have become the primary way in which consumers and employees in the enterprise are accessing products and services,” said Abinash Tripathy, CEO and Co-Founder of Helpshift. “Just like customer service moved away from phone (voice) to email in the era of the Web, we are now seeing a transition where customer service is moving inside apps to eliminate all the friction in the process of supporting users.  With the additional funding from Cisco Investments, we are looking to help the entire contact center industry transition from being reactive to proactive while driving higher customer satisfaction and lowering cost.”

In the smartphone era, customers are using mobile apps to interact with products and services. By bringing customer service in-app, Helpshift has eliminated the frustration of customers having to leave the app to get support. The company provides a seamless messaging experience to enable customers to talk to companies like they would talk to their friends.

“We continue to invest in strategic solutions to help propel technology developments that will solve challenges for our customers, partners, and beyond,” said Rob Salvagno, head of Cisco Investments and vice president of Cisco Corporate Development. “Through our investment, we look forward to supporting Helpshift to enable companies to provide best in-class mobile customer care through their data-centric messaging platform.”

About Helpshift:
Helpshift is revolutionizing the customer support experience everywhere. Through an intuitive user interface, Helpshift makes it easy for businesses large and small to proactively support and engage their customers. Their support platform includes native functionality such as in-app FAQ's, in-app chat, a full CRM ticketing system, in-app campaigns, and in-app surveys, making it easy for companies to provide a best-in-class customer support experience on any device. Companies such as Zynga, Virgin Media, Microsoft, Western Union, Flipboard, Shyp, WordPress, and thousands of other industry-leading brands, startups, and developers use the Helpshift platform to provide in-app support. Helpshift is installed on 2 Billion devices worldwide, and serves 400+ million mobile customers monthly. To date, Helpshift has raised more than $38.2 Million and is backed by Cisco Investments, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, True Ventures, and Visionnaire Ventures. To learn more about Helpshift, visit 
https://www.helpshift.com and follow @helpshifton Twitter.

My Take

While this initially surprised me as I do not peg Cisco as a mobile app maker there is quite some scope for synergies between Helpshift and Cisco on second thought. After all one can consider the apps that are embedded in Cisco’s devices being mobile apps, too.
Cisco is creating call centre solutions and has a raft of devices that are to be deployed anywhere, and which need to be set up and maintained. So, for a starter the call centre agents can get armed with more and better information via Helpshift’s technology. This synergy nicely combines the thoughts that Helpshift CEO Abinash Tripathy expressed about IoT/bots/machine learning with Helpshift’s existing ability to combine system data with chat or an FAQ, remote management, alerting, and even allows for preventive maintenance and other scenarios, maybe even self-configuration. And for Cisco it offers the possibility of doing things differently, not bound into the corsage of corporate margin goals, but focusing more on innovation. 
For Helpshift there is the additional offer of a far wider exposure in the big Cisco partner and channel networks. And big names in the investors' list never harm.
Overall this investment can have immense benefits for both companies. Congratulations to Abinash and his team.


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