San Jose and Bengaluru-based customer support solutions startup Hiver has raised $4 Mn in debt financing from Singapore-based debt fund Mars Growth Capital. Mars Growth Capital is a joint venture between Mitsubishi UFJ Financial’s MUFG Bank, and Liquidity Capital.
Hiver claims to be the world’s first Gmail-based customer service solution, built for those businesses that use Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) to manage parts of their operations such as email, calendar and cloud-based collaborative productivity through Google Drive.
The startup enables teams to collaborate on customer service emails right from Gmail, with baked-in functionalities such as email assignment, tracking, automation, analytics, service-level agreements and automated responses for off-business hour communications. Businesses can shared inboxes, for example, [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] and enable the collaborative features.
Founded by Niraj Ranjan Rout in 2011, Hiver claims that more than 1,500 companies across 30 countries are using the platform and these include businesses such as Harvard University, Upwork, Flexport, AppsFlyer, Vacasa, Kiwi.com and others.
Prior to this, in October 2018, the startup raised $4 Mn from Kalaari Capital and Kae Capital in its Series A funding round. It also raised $130K from Citrix Startup Accelerator and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2012.
In a press statement, CEO Rout said the company shifted its focus from shared inbox market to the highly-competitive customer service helpdesk market last year, which has seen good response.
“We see a huge business opportunity with Hiver, in simplifying customer service for businesses by bringing it back to Gmail. With this funding, we will aggressively expand on our sales and marketing efforts to grow our customer base and double revenues in 2021 and 2022.”
Within the broader helpdesk space, Hiver will have to contend with the likes of Freshworks, Deskera, Zoho Desk, Zendesk and several other global brand names. With such pedigreed competition, Hiver will be looking to capitalise on its existing customer base and use the funding to drive new adoption.
Mars Growth Capital claims to have an AI-driven investment thesis and looks to provide debt funding for growth-stage startups in the Asia Pacific region, with a particular focus on ecommerce and software-as-a-service (SaaS) verticals. MUFG Bank has made a $80 Mn commitment to the fund. The The fund is looking to back startups with average ticket size of $2 Mn to US$30 Mn.
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