Boston-based Pingup Sees Text-to-Business Service as Productivity Tool
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enable businesses to receive consumer texts through e-mail, Twitter feeds, and a tablet app, as well as integrate other functions like mobile payments—useful when consumers are texting to order takeout, for example.
For now it’s enlisting smaller, local businesses across a spectrum of industries. But Pingup sees its service supplementing communications tools for much bigger brands. It’s in discussion with a retail chain that wants to get 5,000 employees using the service, Slater says.
Last month the startup announced it raised $1 million in seed funding, from Avalon Ventures and angel investors (including Karmaloop founder and CEO Greg Selkoe). That cash will go towards building out Pingup’s multi-seat capabilities for businesses that want several employees answering customer’s texts, and want to re-route the conversation to the employees who are on duty.
Pingup has to work to make consumers aware of its service, particularly in a sea of other apps for browsing nearby businesses, such as Yelp. But the real value comes after the moment of discovery, when the customer wants to make contact.
“There’s the obvious challenge to promote the application and the marketing effort to let people know they can now use Pingup to chat with businesses. That’s a challenge with every startup, I guess, but we’re having good progress,” Beslic says. “But we’re not competing with Google [Places], Yelp, or Foursquare at all. This is to find a business to communicate with a business. The user proposition is completely different.”