Smooch.io isn’t trying to be another chat platform – they’re just making it better


Montreal startup Smooch.io says the writing is on the wall: people want to communicate with the businesses they use through messaging, and eventually companies will get smart.

And as it turns out, the Montreal startup’s 5.2 million active users are enjoying the service they’re providing.

Cofounded by Mike Gozzo and Hamnett Hill, Smooch.io was spun out of parent company Radial Point (Zero Knowledge Systems back in the day). It helps businesses add messaging to their apps faster, providing developer API & SDKs that instantly enable business-to-user messaging, along with cool features that make the conversations better for both sides.

Gozzo said Facebook messenger and WeChat are starting to make messaging the main way people both talk to each other and with the businesses they use.

“We built a platform that allows businesses to get all of this functionality within their own app or website, over SMSnow and soon over all the other channels as well,” he told MTLinTech. “We’re helping businesses and their customers to talk.”

Hill took it a step further. He said the number of companies using messaging to communicate with their customers today is still very small. But customers don’t want to wait on hold over the phone or send a form into the ’email abyss.’

“We fundamentally believe that over the next few years the third leg of how you communicate with companies is going to be through messaging,” said Hill.

Hill is CEO at EDO Capital, a venture capital firm that focuses on sustainable food businesses. Even with his time commitment to his firm, he said he simply couldn’t keep away from Smooch.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of exciting businesses and this is honestly one of the biggest opportunities I’ve ever been part of,” he told MTLinTech.

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Some of their current customers include Harry’s, the men’s care products, Treat, a mobile pet care app, KPCB Edge, a private messaging app that connects founders, Yo, the single-tap zero character communication tool.

Smooch.io’s ‘5.2 million users’ claim comes from these apps and the people that use them, since Smooch.io is powering the messaging technology. It’s free for apps to integrate Smooch.io, but only if they have less than 10,000 users using the app. Anything over that will cost them a penny-per-user per month. That means the startup has been earning revenue for six months.

With the solid numbers, the growth and the recent rebranding, Gozzo wants people to know that Smooch.io is here to stay, too.

They’ll be moving to a new office at 5333 Casgrain in the Plateau and they plan on bringing on new hires.

“Our core metrics are all moving at 30 percent month-over-month and we’re on the scene now and we’re going to be hiring, so start following us,” said Gozzo.

What may be most interesting about the Smooch.io platform is what more it can provide than just messaging.

As Gozzo put it, “We’re not meant to be just a communication tool, that’s not the point. We’re really a developer platform.”

The business will continue to use whatever communication platform they already use to communicate with each other – Slack, for example – but now they can bring customers into those conversations. And its more than text, using rich messages, cross-platform sync, push and in-app notifications, automation user properties and more.

We asked Gozzo how a company like Air Canada could better communicate with its customers using Smooch:

AC could drop our SDK into their app and an AC user could communicate with a real person on the AC side. They could do the standard text-based chat over the AC app but because our platform is open and we have all these interesting API-level features, they could also do things like propose a flight and then book a flight. Or they could handle the payment transaction and the scheduling in the messaging channel without having to go into other UIs and other interfaces of their app. Everything can be inline with the conversation stream.

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On the payment front, Smooch.io will be launching a stripe payment integration over the next few weeks, so businesses can sell customers or request money for something in special tags within their messaging.

“We’re really thinking about what you can build on top of messaging,” said Gozzo. “That’s why its different.”

Hill feels it’s only a matter of time before businesses smarten up and start talking with customers in the manner they choose: messaging.

“Enlightened brands have got it figured out,” he said. “Smooch makes it dead-simple for any company to start messaging their customers. We really think we can help be a new communication channel for brands that want to have real conversations with their customers.”

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