Oscar Giraldo, CEO and co-founder at Playvox. Photo: Courtesy
Business

Shift to digital drives growth in Colombia-based Playvox, which raised $25 million and acquired an Aussie firm

In 2020, the Colombian platform Playvox registered a 400% growth in its user base, and a 70% increase in its number of business customers

In 2020, the Colombian platform Playvox registered a 400% growth in its user base, and a 70% increase in its number of business customers. This growth prompted the Kansas City-based VC firm Five Elms Capital to allocate a $25 million investment round at the startup in early 2021. The SaaS company works to bring a game-changing tool to customer service monitoring. So far, it has nailed 200 corporate customers, including names such as Nubank, Twitter, EBANX, Glovo, Dropbox, Nike, and OLX

“During the pandemic, companies were forced to move digital, and digital channels and e-commerce exploded quickly. Those companies that need to serve customers digitally need to provide a great customer experience. Every single company that cares about customer experience invests in Playvox. This trend of being more customer-centric, and the digital channels are driving this growth,” explained Oscar Giraldo, Playvox co-founder, and CEO. 

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Five Elms Capital had already invested $7 million in Playvox before. With an initial round of $2 million, Playvox has raised $34 million in funding so far. Eyeing the Asian market, Playvox also announced a bold move for an early-stage startup: it acquired the Australian firm Agyle Time, a workforce monitoring tool. “It’s a very exciting technology that we are acquiring. It’s a workforce management tool that allows contact centers to forecast the demand better, and to scale the right agent at the right time,” he says. 

For example, for an e-commerce company that has peaked at any sales season, the platform allows it to forecast the demand to meet it. “Agyle Time’s technology is complementary because it is the tool that gives companies the ability to forecast and scale based on the skills that they have. During COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important because agents are working from home, so contact centers require better structure.”

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Playvox background: From Manizales to the world

Giraldo is originally from Colombia, but he moved to Chile, where he began to work as a software engineer. After spending some time working for different companies, banks such as Citibank and Banco de Chile, he realized the importance of employee motivation to perform. 

Oscar Giraldo, CEO and co-founder at Playvox. Photo: Courtesy

“When I was at the bank, I felt that, at the time, there was no autonomy for my side, and I performed the best when I was happy,” he told LABS. That personal story led him to be in a contact center for the first time, and he saw the same situation happening to him: when he was happy, he was performing the best. “I looked at those contact center agents taking calls all the time, talking with 100 customers and not getting the correct tools to get the work done, and I saw a correlation as well between the best-performing agents were the most performing at work. So I decided to do something about it, and I used my knowledge as a software engineer to build a platform that allows them to be engaged and to have all the tools they needed to be successful at their job.”

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Then, Giraldo visited San Francisco for the first time in a conference featuring Salesforce‘s CEO. He got inspired to take that idea of “bringing joy to contact centers” on a bigger scale. He decided to move from Santiago to Silicon Valley to go all-in with this project. 

He didn’t speak any English when Playvox was founded, in 2012. “For me, it was building a startup while learning English at the same time. It was really difficult but, hopefully, it worked out pretty well.” 

The startup’s platform monitors digital channels and give customer service agents feedback, connecting the digital channels that a company has with its consumer. “For example. when you call Nubank, there are people in the backend monitoring the interactions that the agents are providing to the customer, and Playvox is the back-end for managing and monitoring those communications channels, to improve them with the feedback that they need.”

The quality monitoring platform has clients in 34 countries, and its 120 employees work from almost all timezones. “Now with the acquisition of the Aussie company, we have a footprint in Melbourne and Sydney; we have people in London, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Colombia, and Silicon Valley.” 

The largest concentration of employees is in Colombia, Giraldo’s homeland; it was where Playvox’s initial team started. “We have this dream of becoming the first Manizales-based company to make an IPO; I’m very confident that Playvox is going to be a pretty significant company. I don’t know when it will happen, but it will be a leading company in the next few years.” 

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