Fourteen years after the dot-com bubble burst, there are still some private companies who lived through it which are very much alive and kicking.
In the wild world of automated customer response, no company has been less wild than 7 — the Sequoia-backed, Mike Moritz-directed provider of automated customer service tools, which survived the 2000’s tech crash. The company has quietly built a business doing $255 million in revenue by selling customer service tools to very, very large businesses.
The company tracks what customers do on websites, through a company’s social media channel, and on mobile devices to provide a holistic view of a customer’s activity should they ever need support or assistance. IntelliResponse, another hold-out from before the dot-com bubble, provides automated online chat messaging and support.
Now, 7 is buying IntelliResponse for an undisclosed amount to fold its artificial intelligence-enabled customer service chat tools into the 7 platform of companies.
Despite its long gestation period, Sequoia still has high hopes for 7. “We believe in the long-term viability of the company,” says Sequoia partner Alfred Lin.
Founded by PV Kannan, 7 initially began with $7 million of the founders’ money. Sequoia put in and additional $7 million in capital in 2003 and the company never looked back.
“Consumers are getting used to getting everything in the cloud and [integration] is a pain in the ass if you tried to do it with most enterprises today. The problem is not getting a mom and pop store
up and running with this technology. It’s how do you get a large bank to do it,” says Kannan.
To that end, Kannan and 7 have focused on rolling up the largest 250 enterprises. Following the acquisition, all 60 of IntelliResponse’s current employees, including chief executive David Lloyd, will remain with the company.