Sendbird Joins Unicorn Club as Mobile Communications Become Essential in the Lives of Billions of People Across the Globe
Company raises $100 million in Series C at $1.05 billion valuation; Monthly active users and applications powered by Sendbird jump 3x
Sendbird, the leading mobile engagement & communication company across in-app chat, voice and video, today announced that it closed $100 million in Series C funding in an oversubscribed round led by STEADFAST Capital Ventures. STEADFAST Managing Director and Head of Venture Capital Karan Mehandru will join Sendbird’s board of directors. Emergence Capital, Softbank Vision Fund 2*, and World Innovation Lab also participated in the round, as well as previous investors, ICONIQ Growth, Tiger Global Management, and Meritech Capital.
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Funding comes as Sendbird has achieved new milestones. Now valued at $1.05 billion, it becomes one of only 12 current unicorns founded out of Korea and the first in the B2B enterprise software space. Sendbird has also grown its monthly active users (MAU) and the number of applications powered by Sendbird by 3x since its Series B announcement. Over 150 million users interact on Sendbird’s chat and video platform every month through the apps of digital and mobile leaders including Reddit, Hinge, Paytm, Teladoc, Virgin Mobile UAE, and Delivery Hero.
Sendbird connects users with each other and with the brands they care about through rich in-app conversations across chat, voice, and video. Driving Sendbird’s growth is the fact that billions of consumers across the globe now accomplish more and more tasks within mobile apps, across both their home and work lives. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this trend. As the largest white-label mobile conversations platform that companies can integrate into their apps and brand experience with just a few lines of code, Sendbird has seen a heavy demand for its products across industries.
“From food delivery to healthcare, education, entertainment, shopping, and so much more, every business is looking to connect digitally with its customers,” said Sendbird co-founder and CEO, John S. Kim. “Users now expect to have meaningful conversations with each other, and with the brand, inside of the mobile app– and that’s where we come in. Whether it’s coordinating with a delivery provider, getting a question answered from a seller in an online marketplace, asking another user for advice in a hobby community, or talking to a doctor in a virtual video call, Sendbird helps hundreds of millions of users connect with the brands they love and get stuff done.”
Conversations as the center of the mobile experience
Billions of users now engage in real-time mobile conversations on a monthly basis making it the most popular way for users to communicate. Companies are increasingly harnessing the power of mobile conversations within their own apps both to drive better business outcomes, but also to not risk losing their users to other real-time channels owned by the technology giants. More and more, brands are making the conversation with the customer the center of the mobile experience. From within a chat thread, users can authorize a replacement item from a delivery provider, cancel a ride, make a payment to a friend, or check the status of an order.
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“Modern brands in all verticals are increasingly adopting in-app chat to power digital, real-time, and authentic conversations with their customers to drive engagement and retention,” said Sendbird board member Karan Mehandru. “We believe Sendbird’s market leadership and product scalability put them in pole position to capture these tailwinds and become the first choice for every brand in the world looking to communicate authentically with their audience. We are thrilled to lead this investment and partner with John and the team as the company defines and owns this next dominant channel of customer communications.”
Sendbird’s customer base currently spans communities such as Reddit and Yahoo Sports as well as two-sided marketplaces like Carousell, Handy, and Yell. It also includes food delivery and ride sharing leaders like Delivery Hero, Ola, and iFood, digital health innovators such as Rally Health, Teladoc, and DocPlanner, fintech companies like PayPay, Paytm, and Picpay, as well as enterprises including Virgin Mobile UAE, ServiceNow, and Kookmin Bank.
“We needed to quickly find new digital ways for our users to build meaningful connections, and Sendbird’s video calling and chat APIs do just that,” said Ben Celebicic, CTO of Hinge, one of the largest dating sites in the U.S. and a member of the Match Group. “With millions of daters looking for connection, we needed a partner that we could trust with our scale.“
New Money for a New World
Sendbird will use its latest influx of capital to aggressively accelerate its R&D efforts to help customers get more value out of both existing and new products. The company will continue to scale its workforce in its Silicon Valley headquarters, as well as in its other locations around the globe– New York, London, Munich, Singapore, Seoul, and Bengaluru– to make this happen. In addition, Sendbird also plans to enter new markets as the world looks for ways to incorporate meaningful digital conversations over chat, voice, and video into their mobile applications.
“Our customers operate in highly dynamic and competitive environments,” said Kim. “Helping them launch new mobile experiences quickly and see better business outcomes– that’s where our focus is. Last year we launched Sendbird Calls, APIs to embed voice and video experiences into mobile apps, and we’ve seen strong demand. The explosion of Clubhouse has shown that companies are just getting started on where to take voice and video. We’re excited to build the future of mobile experiences with our customers.”
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