Charles today announces that it has raised a $20M 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 seed round in 2021, also participated in the round.
Charles is the all-in-one, conversational-first operating system that is bringing everything associated with from ecommerce into 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 funding round, Charles is further expanding its operations from Germany into key European markets and targeting larger enterprise clients.
Charles started as a solution to a problem its founders had personally experienced. In 2019, Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing initially launched a WhatsApp-first clothing brand. While customers loved the seamless and personal experience, Tussing and Weissbeck could not find any software that combined service, sales and newsletter functionalities for chat apps in a single place. Consequently, they decided to pivot their business and build a true category creator in the field of “cCommerce”.
Charles already sees several of its 100+ software customers hitting 7-digit WhatsApp revenues in 2022 and driving 10-40% of their sales via chat. In addition, clients have had more than 90% opening rates and 8x more revenue per recipient via WhatsApp newsletters than via email. Charles has been building up a new, fast growing revenue channel in times of recession.
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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, like WhatsApp, have been proven to facilitate this in Latin America and Asia by combining sales, marketing and service in one ongoing conversation. This is something ecommerce has failed to do due to the forced marriage of web shops and emails. Conversational commerce is now sweeping over Europe and there’s never been a better way for brands to wow their customers.”
Andreas Tussing, co-founder and co-CEO at Charles, adds: “In the last two years, we’ve been writing playbooks for cCommerce in Europe with some incredibly innovative brands. On the way, Charles has matured to become a true suite that’s now ready for enterprise clients. We see cCommerce becoming a secret weapon for many brands in times where they must go the extra mile to win new customers and nurture existing ones. With Salesforce Ventures, we’ve found the perfect partner to unlock this potential in the years to come and are honored to welcome them alongside our existing investors Accel and HV Capital.”
“Charles is a true category creator. Artjem and Andreas are on a mission to drive better experiences for consumers and better outcomes for merchants resulting in higher engagement, higher sales and lower customer acquisition costs”, says Nowi Kallen, Managing Director at Salesforce Ventures. He continues: “Customers rave about Charles’ capabilities and service so we could not be more excited to partner with the Charles team.”Since its launch in 2020, Charles has received massive interest from brands of all sizes striving to join the mega trend of conversational commerce. More than 50% of Brazilians already buy goods and services via WhatsApp and WeChat transacted USD 400B in China last year, in clear signs that cCommerce will play a decisive part in reshuffling commerce in Europe in the coming years, where the WhatsApp penetration rate is already at up to 91%.