Digital customer experience platform Airkit raises $40M
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Low-code digital customer experience platform Airkit today announced it has raised $40 million in a series B round led by EQT Ventures. The company says the funds, which bring Airkit’s total raised to over $68 million, will be used to support go-to-market and product development efforts.
The user experience monitoring market is large and growing, and its value is expected to climb from $1.5 billion in 2019 to $3.7 billion by 2023, Markets and Markets anticipates. That may be because every dollar invested in user experience is estimated to net a $100 return, a 9,900% return on investment. Forrester Research reports that frictionless user experience design can raise customer conversion rates by up to 400%.
After founding RelateIQ and selling the company to Salesforce in 2014 for $390 million, Airkit’s team took their learnings to launch what grew into Airkit. The platform sits on top of existing systems of record to deliver experiences that drive customer action. Airkit can digitize any sales and service touchpoint through the customer lifecycle, including automated onboarding, self-service account updates, digital cross-selling, and churn prevention.
With Airkit, customers can abstract away frontend development with prebuilt components and templates for web, mobile, voice, and chat. They can also create brand components and asset libraries while flowing customer data across core systems and Airkit-powered experiences via APIs and integrations. Airkit can measure and optimize experiences with built-in app analytics and reporting on user engagement, and the platform provides debugging and tooling to help ship apps.
Airkit lets customers ideate interactions from templates with drag-and-drop elements like data, forms, controls, triggers, user interfaces, user actions, data manipulations, conversational channels, and more. The platform enables developers to test operations and data flows in a staging environment with app tracing, which allows them to preview an app in different resolutions and device frames.
“Airkit can plug into many leading AI frameworks, such as Amazon AI or Salesforce Einstein, but we don’t inherently introduce any AI-related issues. We actually make it easier to get value from your AI investment by providing another way to deploy AI where it makes sense,” Airkit cofounder and CEO Stephen Ehikian told VentureBeat via email. “The pandemic has changed the way people think about digital self-service. It has introduced more people to the concept, and for many it has changed how they define great service. Both of these factors are a plus for our business.”
Airkit recently released the Kittyhawk update, which offers an upgraded frontend experience powered by prebuilt data models and templates. Alongside new API integrations, the release addresses a range of use cases spanning customer onboarding, form digitization, payment capture, service dispatch, and call deflection.
Research shows that buyers favor brands with personalized, digital self-service. For example, eMarketer found U.S. consumers are 370% more likely to purchase from a company with “very good” customer experiences than “very poor.” And quality customer experiences are likely to become more important as the pandemic accelerates digital transformations. In fact, Forrester predicts digital customer service interactions will increase by 40% this year.
Ehikian says brands using the startup’s platform include Metlife, OpenTable, and Royal Automotive Club. “In the short time since Airkit launched, a growing number of the world’s top brands are trusting us to power their most important customer interactions,” he said. “The fact is that no one else is doing what Airkit is doing. Now we’re seeing all of the companies who were struggling with a lack of engineering resources and fragmented data looking at us and saying ‘Yes, this is the solution we’ve been looking for.’”
Accel, Emergence Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and other existing shareholders also participated in Palo Alto, California-based Airkit’s latest funding round. The company has nearly 100 employees, and it expects to double that number over the next 12 months.
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