Hello Sendbird family,
Today we announced that we’ve raised $100 million in Series C funding to help us better serve our customers as well as accelerate our product ambitions. With this round, our valuation has topped a billion dollars, a milestone we are proud of, but also cognizant that this is just the next step in a long journey of changing the way people communicate and build relationships digitally. I hope you enjoyed the shoutout from our favorite fake billionaire investor, Russ Hanneman 😉. Russ did not invest, primarily because he is a fictional character. Instead, the funding was led by STEADFAST Venture Capital, and we welcome Karan Mehandru from STEADFAST onto the board. Several new investors such as Emergence Capital, SoftBank Vision Fund, and World Innovation Lab joined the round along with participation from all major existing investors.
One of our core values is endless tenacity for customers and this funding will only strengthen our ability to serve our customers and create value for their businesses. We will do so in the form of innovation in our products and services, but also through greater investments in value-added partnerships, customer support, technical onboarding, and documentation. We believe the sum of these, along with financial viability, will make us the right long-term partner for companies big and small, looking to build the next generation of digital experiences within their mobile apps.
With over 150 million users sending over 2.5 billion messages on the Sendbird platform every month across the globe, we expect that we have grown into the largest white label chat platform on the market. More importantly, we’ve earned the trust of hundreds of customers not just from traditional industries we’ve served since the early days like communities, gaming, dating, and marketplaces, but also many new ones like digital healthcare, education, live streaming, and fintech.
Last year we launched several new products; Sendbird Calls, our API and SDKs to create voice and video interactions, as well as Sendbird UIKit, a ready-to-go configurable user interface that allows customers to embed a best-in-class messaging experience into their apps with just a few lines of code. We introduced a new self-service product offering to simplify the buying process, and launched our free trial offering for developers. We also hired aggressively across the company and doubled our presence in Europe and Singapore.
So where do we go from here? Today, billions of people use messaging apps every day and have come to expect a rich experience that goes beyond just text and video conversations. It includes making purchases, getting help, sending money, and even talking to a doctor. We believe the next phase of messaging is less about conversations that are separated from the core transactions and utility of the app, instead progressing to a place where chat becomes an integral part of the core workflows of the app itself. If a user is in a fashion marketplace app and is chatting with a seller about vintage sneakers, the seller should be able to show the buyer different products that might interest them right within the chat thread. Then, within that same conversation the buyer can watch a video of the sneakers in action, make the purchase, issue a payment, check order status, request a return label, and get help. Conversations have always been the way people build relationships and get things done and we believe that paradigm will augment, if not replace the browse and click model of today’s Internet. With integrated in-app conversations more of the transaction can happen in one place. Rather than SMSing a friend to ask him how much money I owe him, instead I can initiate the conversation within the payment app, and click on the amount in his reply to fire off my money.
At Sendbird, our goal is to put the power of conversations in the hands of every developer and brand. Adding Sendbird to your app will come with the UI, integrations, and analytics for conversations to power the core workflows of many industries. That way brands can focus on the bits that make them unique — a routing algorithm for a food delivery app or a search and recommendation engine for an e-commerce brand. It’s a bold vision and we are excited to build the future of digital experiences with our customers.
Finally, I want to say thank you. To our customers, partners, and employees, who made this journey possible. We couldn’t have gotten this far without each and every one of you. I am excited to continue working together to see what the future will bring.
John S. Kim