Podium, a customer messaging platform for local businesses, raised $125 million in a Series C funding round.
YC Continuity led the funding round with participation from Sapphire Ventures, Alkeon Capital, Recruit Co., Institutional Venture Partner (IVP), Accel, Summit Partners, and GV (formerly Google Ventures).
Podium launched in 2014 as a customer messaging platform to help local businesses get timely online reviews. Since then, the company has developed a suite of messaging tools that allow businesses with a physical location to conveniently interact with their customers.
The Podium platform now supports customer messaging, mobile payments, webchat, online reviews, and customer feedback using messaging channels that customers use and trust. In just over five years, half of all smartphone owners in the United States use the Podium platform to interact with a local business.
Today, Podium serves more than 45,000 local businesses in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Along with the funding, Podium also announced a cost-free version of its product, Podium Starter. This new basic package will allow businesses to interact with their customers and process contactless payments completely via messaging, which is both convenient for their customers while also filling a crucial need during periods of social distancing due to Covid-19. Initially rolling out via invitation, this offer will become available to every local business in the United States.
“Over the past five years, we have seen the fundamental way consumers interact with a local business change,” said Eric Rea, co-founder and CEO of Podium. “This round of funding coincides with one of the largest events that has impacted and changed business in our lifetime. The digital transformation that was already taking place has been exponentially accelerated. We are putting this round to use to not only make this transition the most effective for these businesses during this period of time, but also to continue giving every local business the tools they need to grow and succeed moving into the future.”
“YC and Podium have had a deep partnership ever since they were a part of our winter 2016 batch,” said Ali Rowghani, CEO of YC Continuity. “Podium is unique in the fact that its market comprises almost every local business that we as consumers interact with on a daily basis. The company is modernizing the way we all reach out, interact, schedule, pay, and give feedback to our local businesses.”
Image Credit: Podium