Invoca Secures $30 Million To Reduce Wasted Ad Budgets

Invoca on Wednesday announced a $30 million Series D funding round, bringing the company's total funding to $60 million. Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners led this round with additional participation from existing investors Accel Partners, Upfront Ventures, Rincon Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Stepstone.

Kyle Christensen, VP of marketing at Invoca, said this round should lead the company to profitability and enable it to stay independent.

Invoca's focus remains on Fortune 500 companies that drive hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of phone calls to their businesses annually -- which Christensen estimates translates into hundreds of millions of dollars for which companies lack insight through data.

Inserting the phone call into the purchase process helps to reduce wasted budgets from ads that marketers cannot track. For example, if a consumer searches on Google, Bing or Yahoo and lands on the Web site of one of the largest satellite TV providers to browse a different package, but still has questions, so they close the browser and call the company to get questions answered before making the purchase.

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The digital marketing team sees that as cart abandonment and programmatically begins targeting the consumer with email, display and search 20% discount ads. Unfortunate for the customer; he already made the purchase at full price.

Many of those calls come from online marketing and advertising campaigns with unique phone numbers to identify the source of the call. The click connects the caller to the service rep, and speech recognition technology takes over to understanding what is said during conversations. This also ties in with analytics that matches the person on the phone with their online identify and CRM records, so the system can route the caller to their favorite sales rep, and trigger a display ad after the call ends.

Not all agree with Invoca's message. LiveWorld Chairman and CEO Peter Friedman forecasts that messaging apps will replace customer service phone centers within five to 10 years. Messaging app Slack now offers a variation. Earlier this month it began offering the ability to make phone calls in its messaging app.

Reports suggest that the new "Calls" feature now in beta might become one of the "biggest threats to Web-based voice calling."

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