Berlin-based conversational-commerce-as-a-service company Charles has raised €6.4 million, one of Berlin’s largest seed rounds to date.

The round was led by Accel and HV Capital.

“Conversational commerce is emerging as a critical channel for brands,” says Luca Bocchio, Partner at Accel. “It’s a powerful trend that’s set to completely reshape the way brands interact with their customers, paving the way for potential new category-defining tools to emerge.”

Charles initially started out as a WhatsApps store in 2019. Customers could order everyday clothing just as easily as they could have a chat with a friend. “Hey Charles, I need two more of bla bla bla.” However, founders Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing soon discovered a fundamental problem, merging conversation and conversion. 

And so, in 2020, Charles pivoted with Weissbeck and Tussing creating the software to address their problem. Today, Charles connects chat app APIs including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger with shopping and CRM systems such as Shopify, SAP and HubSpot.

According to Gartner, 80% of customer service organisations will move from native mobile apps to messaging services by 2025, resulting in 40% of customer service becoming a profit centre with a new focus on sales and digital customer engagement.

“We want to double-down on growth and complement our technology with use-case specific functionalities like deal closing or cart assembly. Multiple clients are already making more than 25% of their revenue via WhatsApp, driven by higher in-chat conversion and retention rates than in other channels,” says Charles co-founder Andreas Tussing. “We have the ambition to replicate our traction with clients across multiple categories, where we transform customer service into sales centers.”

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