Everyone knows the wrist pain you get after staying on hold for 20+ minutes with customer service. Thanks to Teckst, you can simply exchange a simple text message with the help desk of corporations, saving you the agony and pain. The cofounders, alums of Seamless and General Assembly, are the first in the space to provide two-way texting that integrates with every CRM service available.
Today we sit down with CEO and founder Matt Tumbleson about the company’s newest round of funding and learned where the business is going on the heels of this round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Teckst raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Our investors include Composite Capital, Gaingels, Kernel Capital, and Zelkova Ventures along with angels Walter Burr, Adam Press, Dan Porter, and Kevin Mahaffey.
Tell us about your product or service.
Teckst is fixing the biggest and age-old consumer service complaint of antiquated phone calls plagued with never-ending hold times.
We are delivering a first-to-market service that enables two-way text messaging for customer service teams and it’s the only service that is built to work with every CRM system. With Teckst, anyone can send two-way texts to businesses they often need to reach, such as airlines, cable providers and e-commerce retailers.
Teckst is an enterprise-grade cloud service that’s easy to use and highly configurable. Teckst plugs directly into any CRM platform. We provide an off-the-shelf white glove service for businesses, so they do not need any developers.
What inspired you to start the company?
At Seamless we were spending so much time and money telling customers that calling sucked. But when an issue happened, the first thing we asked them to do was call us or the restaurant. Our target market hated phone calls, so it was not a “seamless” experience. I started thinking about customer behavior patterns and the research that we conducted confirmed that texting is by far the most-used form of communication in the US. I set out to create a solution that would easily service the largest companies in the US, and Teckst was born.
How is it different?
For today’s millennial generation, email is simply too slow, and both live-chats and phone calls are still too inefficient. And while messaging apps are great, the fragmentation of multiple chat platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and WeChat, are a major integration headache for customer service organizations. Texting remains the most widely-used and easiest way for mobile consumers to communicate.
Teckst reaches an audience of more than 6 billion mobile devices. It’s the only service that integrates seamlessly with Desk.com, Help Scout, Oracle, Salesforce Service Cloud, SugarCRM, and Zendesk.
We make it very easy for any company to use Teckst and we’re highly scalable to work with large enterprises. We plug into every CRM system and our in-house team can customize the product for each specific business set-up, saving the company the need to use internal resources.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
While our target is any consumer-facing business and our sweet spot is mid-size and larger enterprises.
What’s your business model?
Teckst is texting-as-a-service model so we charge on a subscription model. Similar to a mobile phone provider, we have different plans depending on the business size that include a set number of messages.
How has your founding team’s previous experience at General Assembly and Seamless impacted Teckst?
At Seamless, we were incredibly data-driven. We had so much survey data that helped us make decisions on things. I used this same technique to prove the demand and product implementation strategy for Teckst.
My cofounder, Ji Young Choi, came from General Assembly, where she helped build and scale their enterprise business and worked directly with the c-suite of Fortune 500 companies to get up to speed on today’s mobile consumer. That directly translates to an incredible understanding of the issues and obstacles facing businesses today.
What was the funding process like?
We have an incredible group of investors who are highly experienced in the telecommunications space. The process was a learning process but every one of our investors and VCs has lots of experience in the space, so they recognized the opportunity and the team qualifications quickly.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
There are a lot of people interested in the space and it’s heating up like mad. So tons of VCs set up meetings to get the 411 on what’s happening in the texting space. In some instances, it was a waste of time to prepare for these meetings and then realize later that they don’t do check sizes for less than $1M or $2M.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our traction is incredible. We’re working with hundreds of companies and in just a few months, you’ll wake up one day and every company you once called you’ll be able to text. Investors saw that potential and wanted to be a part of it.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan on being up and running on hundreds of enterprises in the North America and have plans to expand into Europe and Australia.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Keep lean. Don’t spend where you don’t need to, but recognize the key areas where you should invest such as in talent.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In just a few months since launching out of stealth mode, we are seeing strong demand from mid-market early adopters and enterprises including BarkBox, JackThreads, Luxe and Memebox.
We’re focused on investing in growing our company and driving greater customer adoption, particularly with the Fortune 1000s.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Westville is the best in the city. I used to not be allowed to say that because they weren’t on Seamless, but they are now, so I can openly pledge my allegiance to Westville. They’ve got the best turkey burger and fries in the city, plus it’s quick and super easy.