250 billion messages are being sent every day and marketers are restless trying to capture this market. Messaing, voice, and chat bots are redefining marketing and automation. At the forefront of this revolution is Snaps, an end-to-end mobile conversational platform already being used at some of the finest brands in the world including Nike, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and even the Cleveland Cavaliers. The company’s cloud solution already integrates seamlessly with the largest messaging platforms such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Giphy, Skype, and many others.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO Christian Brucculeri about the Startup and their most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised our Series A funding from Signal Peak Ventures, bringing our total funding to $13 million. Previous investors include Michael Kassan, CEO of Medialink, Jeff Ragovin, founder of Buddy Media, Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of UTA, Jonah Goodhart, CEO of Moat and Brian O’Kelly, CEO of AppNexus, and marketing executive Bonin Bough.
Tell us about your product or service.
Snaps is a conversational marketing platform that helps brands including Nike, Marriott Rewards, Sephora, Bud Light, Macy’s, Simon Property Group, Lady Gaga, and more, find new customers and increase lifetime value of existing customers through chatbots, voice skills, and social messaging.
What inspired you to start the company?
We saw that a visually-based language was emerging in digital. In 2014, many brands and publishers wondered how to play in messaging. For this, we built the first technology and the content management system for emoji messaging campaigns. We’ve expanded our offering to support the explosion of chatbots and now voice skills.
How is it different?
Snaps’ Conversational Marketing Cloud is the only end-to-end solution for digital marketers, providing messaging-first solutions for brand marketing, audience engagement, e-commerce, and customer support across messaging apps and voice hardware.
Though our platform, brands can “Write Once, Publish Everywhere”. Meaning they can launch consistent experiences across iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber, Line, Twitter, Echo and Assistant all from a single platform.
Once they launch an experience, we have an Intelligent Messaging engine that empowers brands to drive personalization, re-engagement and incredible customer experience through simple data integrations, and our proprietary intent management and automation technology.
Finally, we’re enterprise grade. Our platform has best-in-class analytics, particularly around chatbot experience. We’re fully encrypted, and built with data security in mind. We also have an award winning team of experts (our team is made up of winners of Cannes Lions to Webbys) that help brands with strategy, copy, and technical implementation.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We’ve seen the greatest demand in the apparel, beauty, retail, travel and hospitality industries. Since our founding, there has been a huge uptick in how people use messaging apps. People now spend 6x more time in messaging apps than any other app. Facebook recently announced there are over 1.3 billion users on the Messenger platform. Apple has said that 200,000 iMessages are sent every second. According to a recent study, 9 out of 10 consumers want to use messaging to communicate with brands. We want to help the Fortune 1000 be a part of the 250 billion messages sent each day.
What’s your business model?
Snaps operates on a SaaS model. Brands typically license our technology in yearly contracts.
How are marketers measuring engagement on the platform?
We love giving marketers the flexibility to monitor user behavior and engagement in real-time, then take immediate action in the platform to deliver an elevated chatbot, voice, or social messaging app experience for their customers.
Our platform has in-depth analytics where marketers track metrics including most shared images, chatbot engagement, intent, sales conversions, geo-location and more.
Within our chatbot analytics dashboard specifically, marketers can A/B test multiple chatbot flows to to design the best experience for consumers. With the proprietary Snaps tracking pixels and referral tracker, marketers can re-engage users who abandoned shopping carts automatically and learn more about what sources or ad units provide the most engaged users.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to use the funds to expand our team across product, sales and customer success functions, as well as expand geographic coverage, opening our first office in EMEA in January, 2018.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Create a product or service that is worth paying for. Even before this fundraise, we had six months in 2017 where we’ve been cash flow breakeven. One way that we’ve been able to do that is through building products and services that drive meaningful business outcomes for our partners. For example, we helped Dove increase purchase intent 278% through the ‘Love Your Curls” Campaign and helped Nike drive brand engagement resulting in a 12.5X higher CTR than the global Nike average through Nike ID “StyleBot” on Messenger.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our mission to bring joy to consumers through conversation. We’re to connect with people in more messaging apps globally and
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?
Nothing beats Central Park in Fall.
What was the funding process like?
Pretty fun. We run, by tech standards, a fairly lean organization. We’re still pretty scrappy and have been able to effectively grow organically. We’re also a leading provider in an exciting sector in advertising and marketing technology, so really our decision came down picking a great partner.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
It’s a process, it takes time and, if you’re like us it involves a huge cast of characters. As a turnaround business, the company had to make some changes to the way we govern the company. When you have a large group, even everyone is aligned on the objective, it still takes a lot of time and effort to get a deal done.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We are capitally efficient, as operators we have good experience in this market, we have a great product and we are customer obsessed.