When Ido and I first met, a number of years before he joined Conversocial, we connected over our shared vision for how social media and mobile messaging were going to disrupt customer engagement. Since he joined us in early 2017, he has brought to bear his deep experience in our industry (including roles at SAP and LivePerson) to drive us forward. Ido is an incredibly experienced executive, and I'm excited to see Conversocial mature into our next stage of growth and scale under his leadership.
Ten years ago, I was sitting in the Soho offices of iPlatform with Dan Lester, discussing the future of the industry. We had co-founded iPlatform a couple of years earlier as one of the first Facebook app development agencies in the world. While it was an exciting time for Facebook apps (and Farmville was all the rage), we knew that they were a temporary fad, and didn't represent the future of the internet. So where would we focus our efforts going forward?
We were at the coalface of the growth of social media, which went hand in hand with the rise of the smartphone (the iPhone had been released a couple of years before). We saw just how much people preferred using these new channels to connect with each other, and believed they would come to dominate consumer interactions. We were sure that, as this happened, businesses would have to adapt how they connected with their customers as well—and so, from this discussion, the idea for Conversocial was born: to build software that would help companies connect to their customers through all of these new communication channels.
Within a couple of years, we had spun out Conversocial as a separate company, raised our first round of venture capital, and sold iPlatform. We decided to focus our efforts on helping major brands deliver customer service over social media, which we saw as a huge opportunity not being properly served by other vendors. And I moved to New York to launch the business in the US, which we saw as our most important battleground.
The years since then have been an amazing ride. Social media has transformed customer service by giving a megaphone to any consumer who has a bad experience, ushering in a new era of transparency and consumer power. In the last few years, the rise of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp has created another major shift in consumer behavior, as well as huge opportunities for companies to connect with their customers in a more effortless, personalized way—with companies starting to replace their traditional customer service channels with messaging for the first time. And AI is starting to have a real impact in customer engagement, with the combination of bots and humans in messaging channels finally delivering real benefits to both consumers and brands.
Conversocial has been at the forefront of all of these major waves, working in close partnership with the major social and messaging platforms to bring new functionality to market.
Along the way, we've built an incredible team (now across New York, San Francisco, London and Italy), raised over $25m of venture capital, and worked with some of the biggest brands in the world (including Google, Alaska Airlines, Macy's, British Airways, Tesco, and many many more) to improve the way they connect with their customers.
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and Conversocial along the journey so far: everyone on the team (current and former!), all of who have put in huge amounts of blood and sweat into building the company with me (through many ups and downs); our customers, who have been an integral part of the development of our product and business over many years; and our investors, who have put their belief (and money) into me and our vision, and made all of this possible.