iPhrase Technologies Acquires Banter, Inc.
Leading provider of advanced search and online customer interaction solutions acquires Banter to fuel continued growth
Cambridge, MA – iPhrase Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of advanced search and online customer interaction solutions, today announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based Banter Systems, Inc., a provider of automatic classification software used to understand unstructured content and informal communications. The combination creates a new leader in the market uniquely positioned to help companies with complex offerings automate their sales, service and support operations across multiple communications channels. iPhrase now has 150 customers, over a dozen leading CRM and Web infrastructure partners and a seasoned management team.
iPhrase acquired Banter in an all-stock transaction. The deal doubles the size of iPhrase’s engineering team and will enable the company to rapidly bring new solutions to market. iPhrase acquired all of Banter’s technology assets, customers, partner relationships and employees, including Banter’s Israeli-based research and development team. James C. Hale from FTVentures, an investor in Banter, will be joining iPhrase’s board of directors. The acquisition has closed and Banter’s integration into iPhrase is underway. iPhrase will maintain its current Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters.
The unified company now boasts clear product differentiators and a solid leadership position in both the enterprise search and e-Service enablement market. Tremendous product synergies will allow iPhrase customers to seamlessly integrate and optimize efficiencies in self-service and assisted service channels. The acquisition allows iPhrase to extend its NLP support from web based interactions to e-mail, chat and secure messaging, adds automated classification capabilities, and extends its partner coverage from the Web Infrastructure segment into the CRM market.
“Banter’s leading technology and first-rate engineering team made the company an attractive and natural choice for iPhrase,” said Dan Keshian, CEO and chairman of the board, iPhrase Technologies. “Banter has proven itself by securing OEM relationships with CRM market leaders such as Siebel, KANA and Avaya. Banter’s ability to understand and automate the handling of service inquiries from informal communications like e-mail, chat sessions, Web forms and survey responses, married to iPhrase’s ability to access diverse sales, service and support resources will provide customers the ability to drive value across their various communications channels.”
“We are thrilled about the combination of iPhrase and Banter,” said Yori Nelken, chairman and CTO, Banter Inc. “With Banter’s leadership position in NLP and classification technologies for the CRM industry, the combined company is positioned to capitalize on a large and growing market.”
Julie Burroughs, Director of Market Solutions for Verizon Call Center Solutions, an iPhrase partner said, “This acquisition is very exciting. Call centers are overloaded with emails, case management notes and survey responses, but do little with this valuable customer feedback because it is too difficult to analyze. Banter’s capabilities, together with iPhrase-powered solutions, can drive improved call center productivity and customer satisfaction.”
“There is little question that poor online service will drive customers to the phone, ultimately minimizing any benefits derived from online service applications,” said David Daniels, research director, Jupiter Research. “Companies must use reciprocal interaction to propel customers into a one-on-one dialogue with a company via e-mail, chat or other methods. iPhrase will benefit from Banter’s strong NLP classification engine that aids in automating unstructured categorization, interaction routing and response.”
Founded in 1998, FTVentures was the first venture capital firm in the U.S. to focus on technologies that benefit the global financial services industry. FTVentures now has over $623 million in total capital under management and is a leading investor in information technologies. FTVentures invests primarily in companies developing products and services in software and business services, with a particular emphasis on companies that enable financial institutions worldwide to expand and to operate more efficiently. FTVentures’ investors are 38 of the world’s largest financial institutions, and are leaders in the innovative deployment of technology and operational solutions. For more information, please visit www.ftventures.com.
iPhrase is the leading provider of advanced search and online customer interaction solutions that help companies with complex offerings to automate their sales, service and support operations. Our suite of solutions convert each customer encounter into a measurable, contextually relevant business outcome by leveraging web and call center resources to link customer needs with corporate objectives in real-time. Over 50 companies such as Charles Schwab, Countrywide Financial, Gateway Computer, National Semiconductor, Neiman Marcus and Radio Shack have added millions to their bottom line by reducing costs, increasing revenue, and improving customer, partner, and employee satisfaction.
For more information, please visit www.iphrase.com or call 617/577-4300.
iPhrase is a registered trademark and One Step is a trademark of iPhrase Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
IPHRASE TECHNOLOGIES, INC.