Australian technology start-up Pendula will extend its operations to the US and UK and more than double in size in 2019, following a $3.5 million capital raise to expand the business and escalate its go-to-market strategy.
Pendula, which launched in mid-2017, is a unique technology solution which can be adopted by any business using Salesforce or Zuora to make it much easier for customers to interact with their service providers, and for those companies to provide a much more seamless, simple and pain-free customer experience.
In the 18 months since its inception in June 2017, Pendula has proven the concept and secured some of Australia’s biggest companies as clients. According to research done by venture capital firm EVP during its due diligence, the companies it spoke to said that since adopting Pendula, they quickly reached a point where they couldn’t operate without the platform.
How exactly does Pendula work?
Pendula is a two-way customer communication platform that helps businesses leverage existing communication channels (SMS, email, social) to drive better online interactions with their customers.
Pendula essentially brings the level of automation that revolutionised the marketing sector, to company back office and operations. It addresses the problems service businesses face when it comes to communicate with their customers.
The business impact of applying this technology includes immediate and sustainable improvements to customer satisfaction and retention, and significantly faster and lower-cost development, launch and take-up of new products and services. Critically, Pendula clients have reported that using the technology removes the need for call centre staff on up to 80-90 per cent of customer interactions.
Why has Pendula attracted this funding?
With Energy Australia, LendLease, Navitas, Australian Computer Society, OVO, Providr, Hit 100 and Wildlife Victoria among the 50-plus companies subscribed to the platform, Pendula is ready to take the now-proven technology to potential clients in the US, UK and Asia.
“We’ve been watching Pendula for more than a year, as they developed and proved the platform as a solution that fills a gap for businesses. This addresses problems any business faces when trying to communicate with their customers, by bringing a similar level of automation that revolutionised the marketing sector,” said EVP investment director Justin Lipman, who led the Pendula capital raise.
“EVP likes B2B subscription opportunities that change how client businesses operate. We spent a lot of time speaking with Pendula’s customers during our due diligence to map out how they used the technology.
“These customers told us that Pendula had changed how they do business, to the point where they can’t live without it. It was clear Pendula is solving genuine business problems, and making those businesses more cost-effective and competitive at the same time.”
What will Pendula use this funding for?
With the capital raise completed, Pendula will increase its team to a combined software engineer, client service and sales team of 45 across Sydney and Brisbane between now and October 2019, up from a current team of 20. It will also establish a permanent sales presence in the US to escalate efforts to sign on clients in the US and UK over the next 12 months.
“Pendula’s biggest opportunity to scale is the US market. This capital raise gives us the momentum we need to capitalise on that opportunity faster,” said Pendula founder and CEO, Alex Colvin.
“The business problems we’re addressing are universal. It doesn’t matter who your customers are or what product or service you’re providing, the fact is that the more customers you have, the harder it is to engage with them in a way that satisfies their needs.
“Our software addresses this by making interaction and problem-solving with customers simple for customers in a way that defines the relationship between company and customer and makes it a positive experience. It uses a company’s existing communication platforms – email, SMS and social – and aligns the communication and record-keeping across the many departments even the simplest of business models need in order to sign, service and communicate with their customers.
“We have more than 50 clients in Australia, some of which number among the biggest companies in the Country. Upscaling the operation will mean we can continue to grow here and build our international client base, while continuing to evolve the platform,” Alex said.
What problem is Pendula looking to solve?
Pendula is a solution designed for companies that have a large number of customers – such as utilities providers, banks, telcos etc. The more customers these companies have, the more they need to invest on digital, printed and call centre resources to communicate with them. This communication includes (eg) billing, sales, support etc.
Even with the simplest business model, most companies operate individual business units including sales, production and finance – each with their own customer communication needs, record-keeping and priorities. Most are siloed and have limited visibility of the full customer experience.
Herein lies the problem for customer service-based businesses: getting this right is the difference between a positive and negative customer experience.
If a company provides a service, customer expectations rise. At every interaction, they want you to know everything about them as a customer – and if something’s wrong, quickly fix it.
Achieving this requires:
- Clear visibility of two-way customer communication across the business silos.
- Aggregation of communications
- Outcome Automation: takes the feed from all these systems to trigger and create an outcome or event.
- Schedule these events: read the communication, understand it, create a response back and then react (do as the customer has asked) – all automatically, without requiring the customer to visit a portal or authenticate with passwords etc.
- Communicate the outcome back across the many units that make up the business.
Pendula solves this issue. It aggregates customer information and communication history and provides intelligent two-way communication between company and customer.
Example one: You may receive an email from a company inviting you to take up an offer. Right now, to respond to that you need to go to the company’s portal or dial a call centre, and go through the process of proving who you are before you can take up that invitation. It’s cumbersome and creates many barriers to entry that mean most people would stop halfway-through – or even not try at all.
If a company using Pendula sent you that same offer via email or SMS, all you would need to do is reply “yes” – and it’d be done. With that simple act, Pendula would automatically match your response with your customer information and perform the back-end work required to make your request happen.
Example two: ABC Energy wants to release a new product to market. Currently, they would typically invest three months and around $250K to develop, communicate and test market appetite for the product.
With Pendula, that same product can be created and tested using a variety of communication methods, including A/B campaigns, within 30 minutes and at a tiny fraction of the previous cost.