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MessageBird, an Amsterdam startup that provides cloud communications for enterprises, has raised a staggering €50,1 million ($60M) Series A round led by Silicon Valley-based Accel with a “significant participation” from Skype-founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico based in London. Accelerator Y Combinator acted as a co-investor in this round. “This investment will help us grow our teams around the world, raise brand awareness on a global scale, and strengthen our balance sheet to ensure we continue to be a reliable partner for large enterprises,” CEO and founder Robert Vis stated.
Optimize company-customer interaction
The Amsterdam-founded company offers SMS, Chat, and Voice APIs to optimize company-customer interactions, making contact easier, more efficient, and more accessible. The reportedly profitable company boasts clients such as Uber, Heineken, Foodora, Adidas, Flixbus, and Lufthansa as its customers. Messagebird claims it serves 15,000 customers that connects them to 7 billion phones worldwide.
Quality reflects caliber of the business
“The large enterprises we work with today simply cannot afford their communications to be compromised”, Vis writes. “The quality of your communications is a direct reflection of the caliber of your business. If you’re on a sales call and the connection is poor, you won’t close the deal. If a new user is creating an account and the verification SMS doesn’t go through, that account won’t get created. Dropped calls and undelivered messages result in missed opportunities and lost business. We work hard every single day to solve that problem on a global scale.”
First round of external funding
The Series A led by Accel marks Messagebird’s first round of external funding, besides the seed investment provided by accelerator Y Combinator, last year. “So why did we stop bootstrapping? Our mission is to connect every business to the world via our communication hub. In order to do that, we wanted to work with investors who have been there and done it all before — either through their investments or themselves”, Vis states.
Get shit done
MessageBird was founded by Vis and his co-founder Adriaan Mol (also the founder of payment service provider Mollie) in 2011 to offer a better service than of the usual communication providers. “We needed a quick and reliable way to verify users via SMS in 50 countries for my previous company, Zaypay (which he soon after sold, ed.). Messages were arriving too late or not at all. Since Zaypay provided an API to pay for virtual goods by charging them to your phone bill, the lack of quality actually led to a direct financial loss for our customers. So we did what any tech-minded company that Gets Shit Done would: we built what we needed ourselves.”
It’s quite uncommon for Dutch startups to raise rounds well in the tens of million euros. Quite recently though, supermarket disruptor Picnic raised €100M from private equity firms, while Bynder also had a first big round without prior external funding of €20M from New York-based VC Insight Venture Partners.