Charles Raises Seed Funding for Ecommerce Chat Service on Messaging Apps

By Thomas Price Tuesday, April 6, 2021

As more businesses look for ways to engage with customers, one of the most prevalent new methods for doing so is through messaging apps. With subscribed promotional messaging and enhanced sales chats, many companies have pushed for stronger engagement through the medium. Charles is an ecommerce startup based in Berlin looking to translate messaging and engagement directly into sales. The startup recently received seed funding to help further expand its business and improve upon its so-called “conversational commerce” service.

A woman paying with her credit card on her smartphone.

Charles’s Business Model and Features

The startup Charles looks to convert messaging into sales through its unique service. At its core, the ecommerce startup allows for companies and businesses to integrate sales directly into messaging apps. Through the one click chatout that Charles offers, these companies can move a customer from a conversation into a purchase at a faster rate than ever before.

The software that Charles created also offers a large number of features to help boost sales and engagement as well. Through Charles, businesses can set up subscriber lists where they can send messages with new offers and promotions directly to customers with an open rate above 95%. The ecommerce chat startup also built a VIP program where companies can provide a personal concierge to their best customers. Charles can be integrated into multiple different messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Finally, through a mix of machine and human collaboration, the chat startup provides better automated messaging as well.

Through its ecommerce platform, the chat startup also has an easy translation to revenue as well; a major hurdle for many early-stage businesses. Charles charges a monthly fee for businesses that use the service and takes a small percentage of all sales that are converted from its software. This business model works to incentivize both the business using the chat service and the startup to convert as many sales as possible.

Charles offers plans tailored both for small businesses with less than 50 employees as well as larger, more comprehensive plans for major companies. Retail companies such as Maniko and Woodboom already use their services, with growth potential remaining incredibly high.

Funding and Future Plans from Charles

In the seed funding round for Charles, the chat startup raised €6.4 million. The funding round was led by Accel and HV Capital. This new capital will allow for the ecommerce startup to scale up its business and more companies to join in, boosting overall demand.

The startup is entering the messaging ecommerce market at a significant time, with businesses of all types looking more than ever to begin utilizing similar services. In fact, messaging conversion rates for sales grew by 102% last year alone, with the push notification conversion rate also exploding by 500%. While this growth was partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these trends within the industry are likely to continue moving forward.

When commenting on the nature of the service, cofounder Artjem Weissback said, “‘Traffic’ and with it ‘conversion’ will exponentially move from the streets (retail) and the browser/native apps into chat apps. Thereby, conversational commerce will be the third big pillar of commerce, gluing together all channels and unlocking the full potential of personalization via the unique identification of customers via their phone number.”

About the Author

Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on entertainment and sports features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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