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Drift raises $32 million to expand sales automation with bots

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Conversational marketing company Drift today announced that it has raised $32 million to further its goal of automating conversations between brands and businesses.

Based in Boston, Drift has launched a series of bots since it was founded in April 2016. The startup plans to use the new funds to open a San Francisco office, hire an additional 100 employees over the next 12 months, and expand its automated services for sales and marketing teams.

Drift now serves more than 50,000 customers and helps them handle tasks like targeting specific kinds of companies and scheduling appointments with qualified leads. In an exclusive report earlier this month, VentureBeat noted that Drift plans to add automated services for inbound and outbound emails to its offerings.

In recent months, the company has launched Drift for Enterprise and Playbooks, bots made to carry out specific tasks or meet goals like “grow blog subscriber list” or “increase qualified leads who schedule meetings.”

With Drift for Enterprise, traffic from a Fortune 100 company or other desired customer can trigger a specific prescribed message and special treatment, or settings can be configured so only visitors from specific kinds of businesses see certain messages or are invited to chat. This could be targeted at B2B SaaS companies with more than 50 employees, for example.

Drift’s announcement comes as the company is holding its Hypergrowth Conference and a week after HubSpot announced plans to acquire bot creation platform Motion.ai in order to bring its customers bots for marketing and customer conversations.

Tech giants like Twitter, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, and Apple have also made moves to enter the space with apps of their own.

The $32 million round was led by General Catalyst, with participation from HubSpot and Sequoia Capital. Thus far, Drift has raised $47 million, the company told VentureBeat in a statement. Drift currently has about 50 employees.

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