Cloud communications start-up MessageBird plans Middle East expansion after $200m funding

Founded in 2011, the platform helps clients to shift from the channels of email and voice to more suitable messaging options

Robert Vis, MessageBird’s founder and chief executive, says the latest round is validation that there is an increased demand for his company's services. Courtesy MessageBird 

MessageBird, a cloud communications platform that is used by local companies such as Etisalat, Careem and Okadoc, raised $200 million in a Series C round to expand into international markets, including the Middle East and triple the size of its global workforce.

The fundraising, which was led by Silicon Valley-based Spark Capital, valued the Amsterdam-based start-up at $3 billion, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Investors such as Bonnier, Glynn Capital, LGT Lightstone, Longbow, Mousse Partners, New View Capital, Accel, Atomico and Y-Combinator also participated in this round.

“MessageBird has pioneered OPaaS [Omnichannel Platform as a Service] based on the idea that global companies should have zero-friction communication with their customers anywhere in the world and on any channel they prefer,” Robert Vis, the company’s founder and chief executive, said.

“This latest round is validation that there is pent up demand from customers all over the world who also want traditional businesses to move into this brave new messaging-first omnichannel world and we have the ... product on the market to help them do just that,” Mr Vis said.

Founded in 2011, MessageBird helps its clients shift customer engagement away from the inefficient channels of email and voice to more suitable messaging channels to their business.

The UAE and Egypt are key markets for MessageBird in the Middle East, the company said, adding that the new funding will be used to expand into the core markets in Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Asia, as it officially launches a work from anywhere policy.

“As consumers increasingly demand that businesses talk to them in the apps that they prefer, businesses are finally being forced to adopt omnichannel strategies at scale,” said Will Reed, general partner at Spark Capital.

MessageBird has built a customer-centric, engaging platform adaptable to any channel, he added.

The company, which has nearly 15,000 global customers, raised fresh funds remotely due to the coronavirus-related restrictions.

It came following a surge in demand globally for customer communication tools, as businesses  struggled to cope with the pivot from physical in-store and call centre-based customer service to a fully remote workforce and online only sales.

Some of the MessageBird’s global customers include Lufthansa Airlines, Heineken, Hugo Boss, Rituals Cosmetics, SAP, Uber, Glovo, HelloFresh and Deliveroo.

Its services include enabling businesses to communicate and share media with any customer instantly across WhatsApp, text, voice, Messenger, WeChat, Google Business Messaging, Line and Telegram. Incoming messages across every channel are grouped into a single customer thread for easy ticketing and response.