Customer engagement analytics startup Retain.ai nabs $23M
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Retain.ai, a platform that gives enterprises a view of customer engagement across teams, processes, and apps, has raised $23 million in a funding round led by Emergence Capital, with participation from Baseline Ventures, Upside Partnership, and Afore Capital. The new funding will be used to support growth and more than double Retain.ai’s workforce by the end of 2021, cofounder and CEO Eric Chernoff said. This round brings the company’s total raised to more than $27 million to date.
As companies grow, it can become difficult for them to understand how all of their divisions are servicing customers. This can lead to investing too much effort in the wrong customers and not investing enough with the right customers. For example, customers that aren’t paying can take up the most time from product, engineering, marketing, and other teams. Unfortunately, gathering the data needed for customer engagement analysis usually requires time-consuming, account-specific timesheets, process and time studies, or analyses using data from disparate sources of record.
Retain.ai aims to automate the process by providing a breakdown of customer data. The platform works with browser-based apps to create a picture of customer engagement, providing customer-facing teams and managers measurements of internal process efficiency.
“Retain’s [engine] delivers a trusted, flexible system for identifying and sharing the habits that drive customer retention and revenue,” Chernoff, a former LiveRamp employee who cofounded Retain.ai with Vlad Shulman in 2020, told VentureBeat via email. “Every employee across the customer lifecycle deserves a copilot, powered by billions of monthly data points, that can provide recommendations such as ‘relative to accounts that grow 3 times, we noticed you could be doing more of the things that work for other accounts.’ With Retain as that copilot, organizations can propagate the best habits across entire teams and processes, making everyone better at their job.”
Unifying customer data
At setup, admins using Retain build an “allow list” of apps, web pages, and attributes to capture data and process workflows. Users download a browser extension and Retain collects detailed session data, including page URLs, start and end times, page attributes, process categories, and more. The platform converts this data into actionable information via visualizations and summarizations, providing a source of truth for customer, team, and app interactions across a company.
According to Chernoff, the Retain platform can answer questions about return on investment relative to customer spend, which can be used to create new revenue centers for customer success. Because Retain can capture engagement time on individual accounts, outside of contracted time, companies can leverage this to upsell service contracts, Chernoff says.
Retain also provides visibility into customer relationships to act as an early warning sign for churn. Brands can use it to create “relationship scorecards” that enable them to monitor customer interactions and course-correct if necessary.
Above: A view of Retain.ai’s dashboard, which shows data collected from various customer and team sources in one place.
“[Retain helps] companies to understand overall cost-to-serve customers through insights on efforts [and] activities that go into serving customers throughout their lifecycle,” Chernoff continued. “[Most] leaders are struggling to focus on the highest value processes and customers and don’t know how to remedy the situation … With our background in data connectivity, we saw an opportunity to apply the same techniques associated with adtech … to help companies better understand whether or not their investment in a particular customer’s success was beneficial to their bottom line.”
New York-based Retain, which has 20 employees, says its software is now being used by thousands of users across over a dozen Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Nielsen, and Salesforce. Annual recurring revenue is reportedly up 8 times over the last 12 months, and growth at Retain’s current clients is averaging a 36 times uptick.
“My goal is for Retain to be the next generation of customer experience data and replace all the spliced-together self-reporting data and time-consuming consulting … [For our clients, we’re] returning the 23,000 hours per year spent on cumbersome internal processes to maximize customer-facing engagement [while] growing revenue 25% by boosting engagement with high-value customers and increasing retention,” Chernoff said. “With enterprises adopting work-from-anywhere and hybrid models, [we] believe that everyone at a company is in a long-distance relationship with their customers and team. As a result, enterprises need visibility and to ensure nothing falls through the cracks more than ever.”
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