Banter Secures $18 Million in Funding
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Banter, the leading provider of technology that understands people, today announced that it has received $18 million in oversubscribed financing from an investment group led by Financial Technology Ventures (FTVentures), and including Mayfield, RBC Technology Ventures Inc., the corporate venture arm of RBC Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: RY), and Lucent Venture Partners (NYSE:LU).
Banter provides Global 2000 companies with technology that understands informal, written communication – such as e-mail, text from Web form submissions, enterprise instant messaging, self-service inquiries – and enables applications to automatically respond to, route, categorize or filter the communication. Solutions based on Banter’s patented technology have proven quality improvements and ROI benefits for a company’s customer service and e-mail management.
Financial institutions, including RBC Financial Group, Wells Fargo and ABN AMRO, use Banter’s software for customer contact applications such as e-mail management, Web-based customer service, call center agent assist and help desk. Banter-based solutions can also be used across the enterprise to address issues involving e-mail archive retrieval, e-mail personal productivity and corporate security.
“Banter’s technology has enabled us to further strengthen our promise to deliver seamless anywhere, anytime accessibility and enhanced customer service, ” said Gailyn Johnson, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Online Customer Service. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo was selected as one of the nation’s top bricks and clicks businesses by best-selling author Robert Spector in his new book Anytime Anywhere. This year, Wells Fargo was also ranked as the #2 e-finance innovator by Institutional Investor and #1 by Jupiter Research for attracting and retaining online customers.
“Using Banter technology, RBC has been able to effectively handle a 45 percent increase in e-mail volumes over a 12-month period while productivity increased by 180 percent,” said Bruce Green, vice president, eBusiness enterprise services, RBC Financial Group. “Banter’s solutions provide a true differentiator for RBC in today’s highly competitive market. This innovative and leading-edge technology solution allows us to maintain a high-quality online customer experience while ensuring accurate and timely responses to email inquiries.”
In addition to Wells Fargo, RBC Financial Group and other direct customers such as Tucows, Nintendo and VeriSign, Banter reaches a much larger customer base through partnerships with companies such as Siebel, Peregrine/Remedy and Avaya.
“Banter has achieved a strong leadership position as a result of its penetration in the e-mail management, CRM and call center marketplaces,” said Scott Wu, general partner at FTVentures. “Banter solves a key problem by allowing financial institutions to better manage and understand the exploding volume of e-mail and other informal, written communication. Companies without such capabilities will be overwhelmed by online customer communications, as online financial services continues to grow.”
“We were impressed by the network and market intelligence that FTVentures brings in to help Banter increase sales, create and grow strategic partnerships, and increase our overall value,” said F. Thomas Aden, president and CEO of Banter. “As the first VC firm to focus on companies with technology solutions for financial institutions, FTVentures’ involvement in Banter’s business complements our success in providing solutions for our customers in that industry.”
“Mayfield and Lucent have been invaluable supporters of Banter from our early stages as a company and we will continue our strong relationship with them as we maintain and build our market leadership,” said Yoram Nelken, founder and CTO of Banter. “We are excited to add the talents of FTVentures and RBC Technology Ventures Inc. to those of our other key backers.”
In conjunction with the funding, FTVentures general partners James C. Hale III and Wu will join Banter’s board of directors.
Banter is the market leader in providing Global 2000 companies with infrastructure technology that understands informal, written communication – such as e-mail, text from Web form submissions, enterprise instant messaging, self-service inquiries – and enables applications to automate the appropriate action such as responding, routing, categorizing, and filtering. Solutions based on Banter’s patented technology have significant and proven quality improvements and ROI benefits for a company’s customer service operations and e-mail management. Based in San Francisco, Banter has offices in New York, Boston and Israel. For more information about how Banter can help your business, please visit the company’s website at www.banter.com or call toll free 1-877-992-2683.
Mayfield provides Venture Capital with Impact and creates next-generation technology companies in communications and enterprise software. Since Mayfield’s founding in 1969, the firm has invested in more than 425 companies and has taken approximately 115 companies public. Today, these Mayfield-backed companies represent an aggregate market value of more than $150 billion.
About RBC Technology Ventures Inc.
RBC Technology Ventures Inc. is the corporate venture arm of Royal Bank of Canada (TSX, NYSE: RY), which operates under the master brand name of RBC Financial Group, Canada’s largest financial institution as measured by market capitalization and assets, and is one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. It provides personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking, and transaction processing services on a global basis. The company employs 59,000 people who serve more than 12 million personal, business and public sector customers in North America and in some 30 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.rbc.com. More information on RBC Technology Ventures Inc. is available at www.royalbank.com/rbcv.
About Lucent Venture Partners
Lucent Venture Partners is the venture capital subsidiary of Lucent Technologies with offices in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Formed in 1998, the group invests in early-stage technology companies in high-growth communications areas such as optical, data and wireless networking, semiconductors, communications software, professional services and e-commerce. Lucent Venture Partners also brings the unique ability to facilitate business relationships between its portfolio companies and Lucent’s operating units.
Founded in 1998, FTVentures was the first venture capital firm in the U.S. to primarily invest in technologies that benefit the financial services industry. FTVentures now has more than $623 million in total capital under management and remains the primary investment firm for technology companies that develop products and services applicable to financial services. It invests primarily in mid-to-late stage private companies with developed technologies in three key areas: software and infrastructure solutions providers, electronic commerce enablers and payment sector technologies.
FTVentures-backed companies include 7-24 Solutions, Financial Engines, Corillian, Managed Objects, Caplin Systems, Xign, e-Security, PAYTRUST, CapitalStream, E-LOAN, Synchrologic, ValuBond Securities, ValiCert, CrossLogix, and ClearCommerce. FTVentures investors are 39 of the world’s leading financial institutions and include AIG, Bank of America Corporation, BNP Paribas, Charles Schwab, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), GE Capital, HSBC Holdings, Key Principal Partners, National City Corporation, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), Standard Chartered Bank, US Bancorp and Wells Fargo.
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