Openline was founded by Jonty, Vasi, and Matt in May 2022.
The three of us had previously built and sold Voxbone for $519m in October 2020. After the acquisition, we had each gone our separate ways, but we all knew we wanted to work together again. We kept in touch, talking every couple of months.
In early 2022 we had an idea that kicked off our collaboration. At Voxbone, we built the AWS for real-time communications. Almost every business used us behind the scenes. In fact, we had noticed that many businesses were using us up to 10 times via different applications.
This meant businesses were having conversations with their customers across 10 different apps. These apps didn't talk to each other, making it impossible to know what had been said to whom.
In May 2022 Edi and Alex joined, and we set off to solve this problem.
Having built an initial prototype, in June 2022 we raised a $2.1m pre-seed round. Seedcamp, Y Combinator, Cocoa.vc, Crane.vc, and a group of 30+ angel investors joined our cap table.
We recruited Gabi and Fabio us to help us build out the initial product.
Public launch and key learnings
In July 2022 we launched Openline and started selling. We quickly learned that we were only scratching the surface of a much bigger problem.
The proliferation of SaaS tools across the business meant there was no easy way to get a comprehensive view of the customer. Conversational was just one type of data that needed to be stitched together. To get a complete 360-degree view of the customer relationship requires the integration of:
- Behavioral data
- Demographic data
- Transactional data
- Conversational data
- Social data
...which lived across tens of systems.
The most sophisticated companies were using ETL/reverse ETL tools alongside a data warehouse to try and solve this problem. The least sophisticated companies were exporting .csv files and doing manual data manipulation. Neither approach made this data accessible to developers.
The data was stuck in cold storage. We needed a way to bring it to life and make it usable in the software we built.
In September 2022 we launched customerOS as an open source developer framework for managing customer data.
customerOS solves three core problems:
- How do I build rich applications over the top of my customer data?
- How do I ensure compliance with local regulations around data storage, GDPR, cookie management, etc?
- How do I ensure I always have full control of my customer data, without reliance on 3rd parties?
No complex data engineering. No shipping data off to 3rd party systems. Just a simple GraphQL API + library of components that makes data capture & integration easy.
Better experiences start with better data.
to be continued...