SuperPhone is constructing a Salesforce for texting

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The handle e book is the final, worst default app you depend on. It’s time it acquired as sensible as the remainder of our telephones. That’s the thought behind SuperPhone.

Electronic mail isn’t the way you construct relationships anymore. But most enterprise software program sanctifies the spammy inbox when it’s the immediacy of textual content messaging that retains folks in contact right now. Musician Ryan Leslie realized that when he earned $2 million by constructing a customized textual content administration product to trace, speak to and transact together with his followers. Now he’s turning SuperPhone right into a full-fledged CRM for SMS with a brand new app and spherical of funding.

Designed for entrepreneurs, entertainers and anybody juggling purchasers or gross sales contacts, SuperPhone tells you who you’re forgetting to attach with. Its By no means Lose Contact characteristic can mechanically ping lapsed contacts to maintain the dialog and collaboration alive. You possibly can monitor how your handle e book is rising, and kind folks by location, title or how a lot they’ve spent with you. Subsequent it’s including analytics to point out who messages who extra and different communication well being alerts.

“SuperPhone is the first foray into personal relationship management,” says co-founder and CEO Ryan Leslie.

The Grammy-nominated R&B singer and producer made 2006’s top-five hit “M & U” for pop star Cassie, plus has created tracks for Usher and Britney Spears. However then he taught himself to program on Codecademy, realizing that the imploding file trade would flip being a profitable superstar right into a sport of who had the very best instruments for connecting with followers.

The outcome was SuperPhone — and Leslie giving all his listeners his cellphone quantity. The app let him see who had spent essentially the most on his music and merch, and communicate with them on to hold them loyal. Whereas different artists have been counting their meager streaming royalty pennies, Leslie was discovering out who would pay $1,700 for tickets to a personal New 12 months’s Eve live performance. SuperPhone turned his modest fame into large income.

Hip-hop tremendous fan and VC tremendous star Ben Horowitz joined Leslie’s $1.5 million seed spherical alongside Betaworks and a slew of angels. Atlantic Information grew to become SuperPhone’s prime enterprise shopper, managing half one million conversations with followers of its artists, from Cardi B to Matchbox 20. Now the corporate has 22 workers and grander visions than equipping musicians.

The unique product was centered round driving and tabulating purchases. The brand new SuperPhone (now obtainable on iOS and coming to Android quickly) focuses on the commonest handle e book downside: connecting with somebody necessary then drifting aside. Whether or not they’re buried by extra contacts, misplaced on account of forgetfulness, or issues simply get bizarre as a result of a lot time has handed, unintended disconnection erodes the networks professionals strive onerous to construct.

With SuperPhone’s patent-pending By no means Lose Contact, you select a time interval and create a number of customized reconnection messages. Anybody you haven’t talked to throughout that point receives one of many notes. That could possibly be one thing easy and organic-seeming like “Sorry I disappeared. What have you been up to?” or extra particular like “Hey, it’s Josh Constine. You have 10 minutes this week so I can get your thoughts on some tech trends and hear what you’re working on?”

SuperPhone prices about $zero.10 per energetic dialog per thirty days, so $20 for 200 or $100 for 1,000, that additionally comes with a Shopify e-commerce integration. That could possibly be workable for small-business homeowners and professionals speaking with purchasers that make them important income every. However at $1.20 per contact per yr, SuperPhone is perhaps too costly for influencers or artists making an attempt to remain in contact with a giant viewers. It must compete with different mass-texting instruments and CRM techniques which have expanded into cellular, together with Hustle, Zipwhip, Teckst and Zingle.

New traders are betting on the thought of a Salesforce for the immediate messaging period, placing one other $2.5 million into SuperPhone to convey it to $four.7 million in complete funding. Runway Enterprise Companions’ Marc Michel led the spherical, with participation from FYRFLY Enterprise Companions, Yard Ventures and Transmedia Capital. SuperPhone’s progress signing up prospects hasn’t been stellar, although, so the elevate is taken into account a “seed prime” spherical with solely a barely larger valuation than the 2016 seed.

The money will go towards constructing out an API for connecting with conventional CRM software program and the enterprise texting instruments talked about above. That might bridge the hole between its pro-sumer product and true enterprise gross sales. The corporate has additionally struck a cope with a prime cellphone producer to develop its dialog well being analytics. That might give teenagers a free or sponsored method to entry SuperPhone’s forthcoming dialog metrics. “When we sat down with young people and said ‘would you like to know who messages who more in a relationship?,’ we’ve been met with overwhelmingly positive results,” says Leslie.

The chance of the product is that some customers or their contacts may discover it inauthentic or disingenuous to ship pre-scripted reengagement messages. If it will get you legitimately speaking, perhaps that’s OK. And a few folks settle for that it’s simply enterprise and it’s powerful to maintain up with everybody. I recommended SuperPhone ship you a listing of individuals with whom you’ve lapsed you may wish to ping instantly. Leslie says exams confirmed folks simply dismissed these reminders, so sending messages on customers’ behalf labored higher, however he’s nonetheless open to a much less aggressive implementation.

Between all our notifications, emails, and message threads, there’s simply an excessive amount of for folks to steadiness of their heads. We’re battling to interrupt previous Dunbar’s Quantity, a principle that claims you possibly can solely keep relationships with about 150 folks at a time. Know-how clearly ought to prolong our potential for connectivity, however designing it to really feel pure fairly than an arduous chore is the true problem.

The handle e book is without doubt one of the final manufacturer-made default apps we nonetheless depend upon, but the expertise is reliably terrible. Past searchability, it’s no smarter than pen and paper. Whether or not it’s reminding you to name mother, butter up that gross sales prospect, or coax a hiring candidate to depart their job, SuperPhone might turn into what our telephones ought to have at all times been.

[Image Credit: Bard Kendall Foster]

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