CXTech Week 51 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 51 2021 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. What is CXTech?  The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.

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Covered this week:

  • Deutsche Telekom invests in SignalWire
  • TeleSign and North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation (an SPAC) Announce IPO Plan with EV of $1.3B
  • Dialpad nabs $170 million Investment at $2.2B valuation
  • Infobip Saw Record Breaking eCommerce Activity During Cyber Week Processing 4.23 Billion Messages
  • Clickatel and Chat Commerce – good example of focused success in business messaging
  • RTCSEC Newsletter
  • Engaging Developers. Why are you doing it?
  • TADHack and TADSummit in 2022
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Deutsche Telekom invests in SignalWire

In June 2021, SignalWire closed a $30 Million Series B round, led by Prosperity7 Ventures. This second closing of round B includes an investment by Deutsche Telekom, investment size was not released, the rumour is about $10M, but that’s just hearsay.

The funding will be used to ramp up the development of a complete, flat, and unified development layer and cloud platform upon which the next generation of communications applications are built.

TeleSign and North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation (an SPAC) Announce IPO Plan with EV of $1.3B

TeleSign intends to go public via a business combination with North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: NAAC), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), with $380million in trust.

TeleSign has also secured $107.5 million in Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) financing from a group of investors, including SFPI-FPIM (Belgian government investment arm).

With this transaction, TeleSign expects to accelerate its investment and fund its growth. TeleSign is expecting to generate revenues of $391 million in 2021, with an expected increase to approximately $1.1 billion in 2026. The transaction implies a pro forma enterprise value of approximately $1.3 billion for TeleSign (seems a little steep). The transaction is expected to close in Q2 of 2022.

This one surprised me a little, identity management space is growing rapidly. TeleSign’s competitors are private, or part of large corporations in enterprise identity verification and credit rating. Being listed will require focus on meeting the $1.1B revenue by 2026, than building market share. However, before 2026 its likely investors and executives will have cycled making it someone else’s problem.

Dialpad nabs $170 million Investment at $2.2B valuation

Dialpad has been ramping up its AI for 5+ years, in 2018 when it acquired conference call transcription service TalkIQ. This became its Voice Intelligence, which can generate notes from every phone call, conduct sentiment analysis, and use natural language processing to highlight actionable items from meetings.

Recently, Dialpad has acquiring two AI companies in customer experience, Koopid and Kare Knowledgeware. In addition to Highfive, reported in CXTech Week 36 2020.

Total raised so far is $310M. Dialpad claims the recent investment will be used on build out its AI competence, with a focus on hiring new personnel across natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, data engineering, and more.

Investors in the round include Iconiq Capital, Alphabet’s GV, T-Mobile Ventures, Omers Growth Equity, Amasia, Work-Bench, and Section 32.

Infobip Saw Record Breaking eCommerce Activity During Cyber Week Processing 4.23 Billion Messages

Infobip is one of the SMS aggregation heavy weights. It processed a total of 2.26bn interactions across all channels including SMS, voice, email, push and Chat Apps for Black Friday, and 1.97 bn on Cyber Monday for customers across the globe.

It accounts for a 71% increase in network activity compared to 2020 with SMS the most used channel, clocking up a 51% increase in use from last year. In total 1.7bn SMS texts were sent over this period. A2P SMS remains alive, well, and where most of the revenue resides in messaging.

Clickatell and Chat Commerce – good example of focused success in business messaging

Chat platforms such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger have more than 7.7 billion active users, according to Statista 2021, outnumbering the 4.7 billion internet users. Chat is a significant channel.

Clickatell’s 10,000 customers cover a variety of industries and geographies, including financial services, retail, travel, media and entertainment, hospitality, education, security, and many more. Clickatell has delivered over 9 billion brand-to-consumer engagements, processing over a million transactions daily. 93% of conversations on its Chat Commerce Platform end in a transaction.

Clickatell’s products include Chat 2 Pay that enables merchants to securely accept payments in chat messaging by sending consumers a payment link via SMS or WhatsApp. Additionally, the company announced a strategic partnership with Cybersource that accelerates the move towards contactless digital engagements for E-Commerce by making it easier for businesses to deliver Chat Commerce and a contact-free checkout experience with the combined Chat 2 Pay solution.

Clickatell merged Chat Desk, a live-agent messaging center solution, with Chat Flow, a workflow builder. Businesses connect with consumers through automated chat, known as unassisted chat, and then, if additional support is needed, seamlessly shift the customer support to their live agents through Clickatell’s Chat Desk. Live agent and customer conversations are crucial with the company experiencing a 108% month-over-month increase.

Clichatel began as a CPaaS, some of the companies involved in TADSummit used their SMS APIs in the past. Clickatell focused on business messaging, than chasing the race to zero in generic APIs. And is now focused on growing its chat commerce, i.e. adding payments over chat. Reminds me of the old premium SMS days of payments in messaging, without the carriers demanding crazy revenues shares of 30%.

RTCSEC Newsletter

The RTCSec newsletter by Sandro Gauci is a free periodic newsletter bringing you commentary and news around VoIP and WebRTC security. It covers both defensive and offensive security as they relate to Real-time Communications.

This month covers topics such as:

  • NPR reports on VoIP DDoS
  • Our TADSummit talk about the relationship between DDoS and RTC (you can see that one here)
  • New video demo showing different types of DDoS
  • SIPit33 participation
  • The log4j vulnerability and RTC security
  • CommCon RTC security talks
  • Enable Security’s plans for 2022
  • Writeup about two of the FreeSWITCH vulnerabilities

Engaging Developers. Why are you doing it?

I’ve seen quite a bit of buzz / BS around ‘engaging developers‘ at the moment. Lots of ‘frameworks’ and overly complex fluff to justify expensive consulting fees.

This weblog is biased towards programmable communications, but it’s applicable to many industries.

The critical question is, “Why are you doing it?” Until you have a defensible answer to this question everything else is a waste of time and money.

If it’s to copy Twilio’s business (copying Twilio’s API, documentation, etc. is another issue), you’ll likely fail as you’re not a developer-first organization. Your DNA will limit you at every step. It’s like asking a fish to climb a tree. Only a few can do that, and they tend to focus where they have a strong defensible advantage, e.g. TeleSign, Telnyx, Signalwire, Jambonz, etc.

Stop trying to chase some nebulous dream of dev engagement, focus on the low hanging fruit in your ecosystem and build from there. It takes time, years, but done right it’s truly amazing what can be achieved.

TADHack and TADSummit in 2022

Best wishes to everyone for 2022! Thank you for all your support through 2021 in making TADHack and TADSummit great successes. TADS is nothing without its community.

The plan for TADHack Global is to run sometime in October, hybrid as we’ve always done. I’ve started the process of talking with the location leaders, I hope we’ll have a firm date in January. If you want to be part of the largest global hackathon focused on programmable communications for 9 years straight, please get in touch!

For TADSummit, I’m going to roll Asia, EMEA, and Americas into one hybrid event in November 2022. The in-person part we’re hoping will be Aveiro, Portugal, but we’re not making a firm decision on that until Q3. This will be the 10th TADSummit, time flies!

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

MTN appoints Charles Molapisi as CEO in South Africa

Sebastian Grabowski is now Head of IoT/SmartCity/Industry/Edge Enterprise architecture practice at Orange Business Services

Keith Sherry is now Co-Founder & CEO at JustReturns

Vivek Chadha is now Vice President, EMEA at Robin.io

Congrats to Yusuf Kaka’s 15 (and .5) years with MTN!

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