Charles today announces that it has raised a $20 million Series A round led by Salesforce Ventures to become Europe’s leading conversational commerce as a service platform. Accel and HV Capital, who led the company’s 2021 starting round, also participated in the round.
Charles is the all-in-one, conversation-first operating system that brings all things e-commerce to WhatsApp and other chat apps. The company enables businesses to sell products, send newsletters and support customers with ongoing personalization and deep system integration via chat. With the new financing round, Charles is further expanding his business from Germany into key European markets and targeting larger corporate clients.
Charles began as a solution to a problem the founders had personally experienced. In 2019, Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing initially launched a WhatsApp-first clothing brand. While customers loved the seamless and personalized experience, Tussing and Weissbeck couldn’t find any software that combined service, sales, and newsletter functionality for chat apps in one place. So they decided to flip their business and build a true category maker in the “cCommerce” field.
Charles already sees several of his 100+ software customers achieve 7-figure WhatsApp revenue by 2022 and boost 10-40% of their sales via chat. In addition, customers through WhatsApp newsletters have over 90% open rates and 8x more revenue per recipient than email. Charles has built a new, fast-growing revenue channel in times of recession.
Artjem Weissbeck, co-founder and co-CEO at Charles, said: “Since day one, our mission has been to make commerce more personal by bringing it into our most human habit: conversations. Rich messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, have been proven to make this possible in Latin America and Asia by combining sales, marketing and service in one ongoing conversation. This is something e-commerce has not done because of the forced marriage of web shops and emails. Conversational commerce is now conquering Europe and there has never been a better way for brands to impress their customers.”
Andreas Tussing, co-founder and co-CEO of Charles, added: “Over the past two years, we’ve written playbooks for cCommerce in Europe with some incredibly innovative brands. Along the way, Charles has grown into a true suite now ready for corporate clients. We see cCommerce becoming a secret weapon for many brands at a time when they need to go the extra mile to win new customers and nurture existing ones. With Salesforce Ventures, we have found the perfect partner to unlock this potential in the coming years and we are honored to welcome them alongside our existing investors Accel and HV Capital.”
“Charles is a real category maker. Artjem and Andreas are on a mission to drive better experiences for consumers and better results for sellers, resulting in higher engagement, higher sales and lower customer acquisition costs,” said Nowi Kallen, Managing Director at Salesforce Ventures. He continues, “Customers are thrilled with Charles’ capabilities and service, so we couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Charles team.”
Since its launch in 2020, Charles has attracted tremendous interest from brands of all sizes striving to join the conversational commerce megatrend. More than 50% of Brazilians already buy goods and services via WhatsApp and WeChat transacted $400 billion in China last year, a clear signal that cCommerce will play a decisive role in rebalancing trade in Europe in the coming years, where the WhatsApp penetration rate is already high. up to 91%.