January 25, 2021

Customer service start-up Gila lands $78m to help banks and credit unions

Glia, a New York-based start-up providing customer services technology for banks, credit unions, and insurance firms, has landed a $78 million Series C funding round.

Led by Insight Partners, a backer of Shopify and Checkout.com, the round pushes Gila’s total funding raised to-date to $107 million.

Gila

Gila’s co-founders Justin DiPietro, Carlos Paniagua and Dan Michaeli

Don Brown, founder and CEO of Genesys-acquired Interactive Intelligence, also invested in the round.

Gila’s performance & growth

The start-up, which helps firms to embed video chat and in-app messaging into their customer service channels, says it grew by around 150% throughout 2020.

That’s in line with the rising demand for digital customer service alternatives, as a result of the global pandemic.

Today, Gila claims to serve some 150 financial institutions, insurance companies and fintech providers.

“Glia plans to expand every department across its organisation,” the fintech says. It will also use the fresh capital injection to explore “strategic acquisitions”, but doesn’t specify in what areas.

Angel investor Brown says “businesses can leapfrog” “antiquated, on-premises telephony systems”. Using Gila to “move directly to a digital-first cloud approach”.

“If I were to build Interactive Intelligence for today’s contact center, I would take Glia’s approach.”

Interactive Intelligence was sold to Genesys in 2016 for $1.4 billion, reflecting the potential value awaiting start-ups like Gila.

Looking to Facebook

Dan Michaeli, Gila’s co-founder and CEO, highlights the activity of large technology firms such as Facebook and Zoom in the digital customer service space.

“This is an area that has gone mainstream, as evidenced by Facebook’s recent billion-dollar acquisition of Kustomer.”

The social media giant has slowly been fleshing out its armoury of customer services for businesses on its platform. Kustomer’s focus, like Gila and other players in the market, is on “omni-channel” customer relations.

Following the Kustomer acquisition last November, TechCrunch speculated that the Big Tech could be looking to turn it into a paid service.

The same month, Snapchat acquired Voca.ai, a start-up which makes customer support voice bots.

This perhaps points to a trend of social media giants spotting the business opportunity in monetising customer service features through their already widely used platforms.

Read next: Fintech digital transformation challenges during COVID-19