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Since we Last Spoke: UJET’s CEO on Reimagining How Consumers Interact with Businesses and Finding the Right VC Partner

Last month, Sapphire Ventures led UJET’s $55 million financing round. UJET’s cloud-native customer support software helps companies across industries transform how they deliver multimodal omnichannel support. While the demand for personalized customer support across channels has been a trend we’ve seen grow over the last several years, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for instantaneous, helpful and multichannel service. As noted in a recent blog post by Cathy Gao from our investment team, 47 percent of customer support teams reported a 51 percent increase in inbound service requests since the beginning of the pandemic starting in mid-March, according to a recent Intercom survey.

Founder and CEO of UJET Anand Janefalkar

As businesses race to improve their customer support strategies and technologies, UJET is well equipped to help. Since we first met with Anand Janefalkar, Founder & CEO of UJET earlier this year, we’ve been excited about his passion around what he and his team are building, and the market opportunity for the company. I always enjoy speaking with Anand, and as a member of UJET’s board, we’re often in touch. On the heels of the funding announcement, I sat down with Anand to ask him a few questions about why he started UJET, the company’s next phase of growth and teaming up with Sapphire Ventures.

Here’s what he had to share:

Why did you decide to start UJET?

Prior to UJET I held roles at tech companies such as Jawbone and Motorola. It was there where I not only helped build, but truly realized the power and untapped potential of smartphones and cloud becoming even more ubiquitous with upcoming high-speed wireless technologies. I saw how the devices that I helped build were able to enable consumers to better connect and interact with one another. But while smartphones were revolutionizing the way consumers interacted with one another, little was being  done to modernize the way consumers and businesses interact. This got me thinking.

Consumers are able to communicate with one another where, when and how they want--across social media platforms, text messaging, phone, you name it. And they can connect both visually and contextually. Yet when someone needs support and has to connect with a business, they are thrown into a ridiculously outdated experience. 

The motivation for UJET came to me after numerous, frustrating customer service experiences. The path became clear, it’s going to take someone who understands modern smartphone era technology and the user experience, not someone who has been knee deep working with legacy technologies, to build a team that re-imagines the way consumers and businesses interact with each other.

What is going on in the industry right now that’s driving demand for a solution like UJET?

Even before the pandemic, companies were migrating to the cloud, adopting modern and cloud-native Contact-Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solutions. Leveraging the cloud has not only helped businesses digitally transform their customer service from an operational perspective, it has helped them rethink the way they interact with their customers, providing a curated journey that builds trust and ultimately, brand loyalty. 

COVID-19 has taken the adoption of CCaaS solutions and pushed it into high gear. Business continuity planning is no longer just a checkbox, but is a day to day mode of operation. Companies must adapt to these challenging conditions and leverage new technologies such as UJET in order to facilitate a robust, secure, scalable and best in class “work anywhere” toolkit. 

Can you talk a little bit about your journey since starting UJET?

I started UJET in July 2015. Since then, we’ve scaled our platform and built a stellar team all through the lens of the user experience. Today, UJET has more than 100 employees and we continue to grow rapidly. Our platform enables mid to large enterprises to operate all over the world, servicing consumers in 22+ languages and in numerous remote agent and team settings without requiring a single download, let alone additional hardware than what’s already being used to check work email. 

What are you looking forward to as you move into your next phase of growth?

This is really just the beginning of our journey to foundationally disrupt the customer service sector. 

Category-leading companies have started to see support as an integral part of the product or service being delivered. That’s how today’s consumer perceives customer support--it’s just as important as the “thing” they’re buying. Incidentally, these same companies are also in the process of refactoring their product and service to be smartphone-centric and cloud native. This intersection of timelines presents an unprecedented opportunity, which UJET is uniquely positioned to lead. 

Closely behind is another transformation taking place in the customer service space. Assisted AI and conversational AI interactions are increasingly being adopted by enterprises, which UJET approaches as automating and channel steering based on the urgency and complexity of the issue, rather than shoehorning it into obsolete channels or one-size-fits-all approach of the legacy providers. 

Both waves are huge growth catalysts for UJET and we look forward to leading the evolution of this sector into an ultra modern one. 

Why are you excited to partner with Sapphire Ventures?

In my opinion, Sapphire Ventures is one of the top enterprise SaaS investors. The firm has a track record of investing in incredible software companies. Sapphire Ventures brings a proven team that can cover an array of critical functions that are instrumental for our growth stage. Since the very beginning of our conversations, it became clear that the Sapphire team envisions an enterprise software world that is closely aligned with our objectives, and we’re stoked to be on this journey together.

How do you plan to leverage the latest investment?

We’re eager to continue innovating and scaling our platform and teams. We have a tremendous customer base with some incredible success stories that need to be communicated globally. This investment will be utilized towards marketing those stories and growing the go-to-market teams domestically and internationally. Additionally, investing in the launches and continuous advancements of our AI and ML offerings will be another prime focus. 

Are you doing anything to help companies get started with UJET given the current economy?

UJET is making it easier for businesses to rapidly transition their support toolkit into a modern, location or premises agnostic one by providing free access to our platform for up to three months. The platform provides companies with the channels they need in order to provide fast and reliable support for their customers, while also allowing their teams to safely work remotely. The onboarding process is quick and only takes a few minutes. Agents located anywhere in the world can be up and running without a single download or installation by simply utilizing a Chrome browser with a stable Internet connection. 

Disclaimer: Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute investment advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Sapphire Ventures, LLC (“Sapphire Ventures”). Information provided reflects Sapphire Ventures’ views as of a time, whereby such views are subject to change at any point and Sapphire Ventures shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. Nothing contained in this article may be relied upon as a guarantee or assurance as to the future success of any particular company. Companies mentioned in this article are a representative sample of portfolio companies in which Sapphire Ventures has invested in which the author believes such companies fit the objective criteria stated in commentary, which do not reflect all investments made by Sapphire. A complete alphabetical list of Sapphire Ventures’ investments made by its direct growth and sports investing strategies is available here. Various content and views contained within this article represent those of third party guests, which do not necessarily reflect the views of Sapphire Ventures. Such views are subject to change at any point and do not in any way represent official statements by Sapphire Ventures. Various statements made by third party guests about Sapphire Ventures relate to the nature and type of management services provided by Sapphire Ventures and do not constitute testimonials to Sapphire Ventures’ investment advisory services and no inference to the contrary should be made. Sapphire Ventures does not solicit or make its services available to the public and none of the funds are currently open to new investors. While the Sapphire Ventures has used reasonable efforts to obtain information from reliable sources, we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of third-party information presented herein, which is subject to change. Past performance is not indicative of future results.