Layer, a communications platform for businesses, has secured $15 million in Series B funding. Greycroft Partners led the round with participation from other investors that included Microsoft Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. In addition to the funding, Layer has acquired messaging startup Cola. No financial terms were disclosed.
February, 24 2017—San Francisco, CA: Layer Inc. announced the acquisition of Cola, a messaging startup known for the Cola Messenger app and the Cola Bubble platform, which transforms simple communications into actionable and collaborative messages. Layer also announced a $15 million Series B round of venture capital funding led by Greycroft Partners with participation by Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and other previous investors.
Layer’s award winning Communications Platform enables today’s businesses to engage customers through all stages of the customer lifecycle—from customer acquisition to service and support—across mobile, web, email and voice channels to deliver unique, brand consistent, customized experiences. Where email, phone and the desktop web were once sufficient channels for managing customer relationships, real-time messaging user experiences have taken hold as the default mobile communications format all over the world. Layer is the market-leading innovator enabling businesses to connect with their customers both through their products and in the customer’s preferred mobile-first experience—all while embracing legacy channels such as email, voice and desktop browsers.
There are many benefits to linking Layer’s ability to power customer conversations with business process flows—improved customer acquisition velocity, increased customer retention, and higher overall customer lifetime value.
“With this new acquisition, Layer is extending its messaging platform to give brands access to Cola technology—interactive, stateful messages that live inside a conversation,” said Ron Palmeri, CEO of Layer. “We’ve seen messaging evolve from simple chat into a rich stream of events. Now, developers using Layer will have a framework to make these events interactive and collaborative. A few taps inside an interactive message can replace multiple back-and-forth texts, making the customer conversation more efficient and delivering better business results via retention, engagement, funnel velocity and conversion rates.”
Examples of Cola technology include placing an order with one tap, scheduling an appointment, quickly voting on one or more options or seeing the live location of a delivery.
“There’s a ton of synergy between the missions of Layer and Cola. This is a perfect place for us to join forces with a company that very much shares and understands our vision,” said Cola CEO, David Temkin. “Cola technology will be available to Layer’s entire developer ecosystem, incorporating our platform into the hundreds of apps that Layer developers are building—and that’s something we’re very proud.”
“The consumerization of technology has brought enterprise solutions to the cloud and made them accessible on any device. We see that communication between companies and customers is the next wave of this movement,” said Mike McEvoy, COO and Co-Founder of Cola. “By embedding collaborative applications within messaging, we unite the efficiency of enterprise apps with consumers’ preferred means of communication to create an instant-connection channel with both context and meaning.”
The acquisition brings Cola’s deep bench of engineering talent to Layer. Jeremy Wyld, CTO of Cola, will join Layer as Chief Architect along with other engineers from the Cola team. Wyld was a key member of Apple’s original iPhone engineering team and led development of the first iPhone’s networking and telephony software, which eventually became iOS.
Who uses Layer?
Hundreds of enterprises rely on Layer, the leader in this category, to embrace the new mobile messaging UX as the core format for their customer conversations. “We chose the Layer platform because fundamentally we wanted to have most of the transaction happen in the conversation itself,” said Justin Hughes, VP of Product at Trunk Club, a Nordstrom company. “It was really important to us that messaging wasn’t just this clunky thing that we used to send links to customers. Layer’s vision of powering the aggregated customer conversation aligned perfectly with ours.”
Even in a hyper-connected mobile-first world, business remains about people, relationships, and communication. Layer’s award winning (TechCrunch Disrupt, San Francisco) Communications Platform powers invaluable conversations that enable brands to embed rich, engaging communications experiences directly into customer conversations across channels that boost both customer engagement and retention. Layer has raised $23 million from leading investors Microsoft Ventures, Greycroft Partners, SV Angel, AME CLoud Ventures, Promus Ventures, CrunchFund, and Fuel Capital as well as leading angel investors.
Cola is the world’s first Messaging OS, designed to make texting more convenient and provide users the full functionality of their smartphone without leaving a conversation. Cola was founded by a team of seasoned Silicon Valley veterans. Investors include Tribeca Angels, Naval Ravikant and his AngelList Syndicate, which includes AOL founder Steve Case, Brad Garlinghouse, and other prominent angel investors. Cola is headquartered in San Francisco, California.