Innovative social CRM company Intercom gains $23M in Series B

Intercom has raised $23 million in a series B round led by Bessemer and joined by The Social+Capital Partnership, which has been widely reported.

The company has positioned itself in a great and growing market, supporting growth-oriented tech companies that want a deep and close relationship with clients, especially during the earliest stages of onboarding and initial use. That transition zone is where proactive outreach and ‘speedback’ on features and functionality is critical.

The founder and CEO, Eoghan McCabe, wrote this about the company’s vision:

Intercom is our contribution to Internet innovation. Internet technologies are still catching up with how humans interact offline. The majority of progress in this space is on the consumer side—Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, et al. Intercom is bringing this to business. It’s a seamless, lightweight way for the whole company to connect personally with their customers. The incumbents haven’t innovated in over a decade. In fact, the separate helpdesks, email marketing tools, feedback products, and CRMs have only become more complex. These disconnected services cannot provide a holistic view of the customer. And as a result, the customer’s experience is very disjointed. Our vision is to be at the center of all customer communication for all kinds of Internet business, which increasingly every business is becoming. We’re dedicated to going all the way with this.

I think that’s a compelling story, and the app demonstrates the proposition fairly well. And the capability for embedding Intercom into websites and applications, and engaging customers there with conversations and notifications. These communications wind up in the Intercom app, and possibly forwarded to email and mobile apps, so that connections can be made and the experience of end users is very real time.

Screenshot 2014-01-23 08.35.13This is a very hot space, with a great deal of innovation to come.

Larger question: If the original value proposition of social tools was to get away from broadcast, 1:many communications, and to replace it with personal, many:many communications, what tools do you need to scale social up to thousands or millions of customers? Well, something like Intercom.

Second large question: What is the impact of social CRM like Intercom on current generation of work tech, which is amazingly inward focused? What is the impact of these solutions on Yammer, IBM Connect, and Chatter?