Text Message Marketing Startup Voyage SMS Raises $10 Million, Buys ‘Frenemy’ LiveRecover
Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to email@example.com.
Voyage SMS, which builds text message marketing tools for online stores, has closed a $10 million funding round as well as its first-ever acquisition, the company announced Thursday.
East Coast venture firms RiverPark and York IE led the funding and were joined by angel investors including former Airbnb executive James Beshara and Birthdate Co. CEO Ajay Mehta. Birthdate Co. is among Voyage’s customers, which also include online brands Zitsticka and Negative Underwear.
Alongside the raise, Santa Monica-based Voyage has snapped up LiveRecover, a company that aims to engage with online shoppers after they abandon their shopping carts. Like Voyage, Austin, Texas-based LiveRecover focuses on SMS marketing and integrates with ecommerce services like Shopify and ReCharge. LiveRecover, however, is less centered around automation; in lieu of chatbots, it employs customer service staff in the Philippines to offer a “hands-on, human experience,” Voyage CEO Rev Reddy told dot.LA.
When asked about Voyage’s valuation and the price of the LiveRecover acquisition, a Voyage spokesperson declined to share additional information. The company also declined to comment on previous funding or its total amount raised to date—though Reddy described the new funding as “more of a growth round” for the startup.
Reddy said he had kept an eye on LiveRecover since Voyage publicly launched in late 2019. “We were frenemies in a sense, because people were actually using both services,” he noted. LiveRecover’s principal backers, who Reddy described as an unnamed “family office,” first reached out to the Voyage CEO about a sale through a direct message on LinkedIn, according to Reddy. LiveRecover co-founders Cody Collier and Dennis Hegstad, who founded the startup in 2018, have left the company following the deal.
Voyage will put its new funding toward hiring, as well as expanding its feature set beyond SMS and into “other messaging channels,” Reddy said. Down the line, he added, the platform will know “when to use automation, AI and chatbots and when to add a human to the experience.”