Zendesk refreshes and rakes in $60m for European push

Zendesk, one of the poster children for the recent wave of enterprise cloud services, has just raked in $60m in fresh funding. And the timing for that could be most opportune – the news coincides with a significant revamp of the browser-based user interface for the customer support suite, and the revelation of significant European expansion plans.

The new round, led by Redpoint Ventures, boasts some big names: Goldman Sachs, Silicon Valley Bank, Index Ventures and GGV Capital, with existing investors Benchmark Capital, Matrix Partners and Charles River Ventures all taking part as well. It’s by far the biggest injection Zendesk has received, taking the firm’s total funding to date up to $86m.

As for the UI revamp, Zendesk EMEA chief Matt Price told me it was very much a reflection of the consumerization trend – it’s around 18 months since the company rolled out its iPad app, and the positive feedback from that apparently stimulated the browser interface refresh.

“For us that meant we really had to make it beautifully simple,” Price said. “We needed to make sure that when an agent logs in, they see everything they need in one place, and when an enquiry comes in from a customer, everything related to that is in one place.”

That related data can come from a variety of sources, from social media to live chat sessions. Zendesk has had these features for a while, as customers these days tend to have their own communications channel preferences, but older versions required the agent to keep switching tools.

Zendesk call screenAnd there’s more on the unification front too: another key feature of the new product is the Zendesk Apps application framework, which provides 75 prebuilt integration points for the likes of Salesforce.com and JIRA.

“We found many people integrate Zendesk into other systems to gather information,” Price said. “They might want to get information out of a CRM system, or on a particular technical issue from an internal system.”

Apart from all the talk of big bucks and sleek UIs, one of the quieter parts of Zendesk’s announcement was the expansion of the platform’s number of supported languages to 12.

That’s very much geared towards a revitalised push into the European market, Price suggested. And to back that up, he added that Zendesk will shortly be opening a Berlin office.

It’s not like Zendesk was lacking a European base before – it was after all founded in Denmark and also has a London office – but it’s clearly targeting an expansion of its existing user base on the continent.