Other investors included Sapphire Ventures, Alkeon Capital, Recruit Co., Ltd., IVP, Accel, Summit Partners and GV.
Podium has raised $92.6 million across four funding rounds since it was founded in 2014 by Dennis Steele and Eric Rea.
Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, the company offers a variety of messaging solutions that help local companies connect with their neighborhood customers. Originally launched to help businesses get prompt, genuine reviews, Podium now also supports mobile payments, webchat and customer messaging.
The platform is used by 45,000 businesses in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including SMBs with one location as well as big firms with thousands of locations.
“Over the past five years, we have seen the fundamental way consumers interact with a local business change,” said Rea, co-founder and CEO. “This round of funding coincides with one of the largest events that has impacted and changed business in our lifetime. The digital transformation that was already taking place has been exponentially accelerated. We are putting this round to use to not only make this transition the most effective for these businesses during this period of time, but also to continue giving every local business the tools they need to grow and succeed moving into the future.”
Podium is now offering Podium Starter, a free version of its platform that enables companies to connect with customers and process contactless payments over messaging. Contactless transactions that happen online are especially important now, as most of the world locks down and practices social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“YC and Podium have had a deep partnership ever since they were a part of our winter 2016 batch,” said Ali Rowghani, CEO of YC Continuity. “Podium is unique in the fact that its market comprises almost every local business that we as consumers interact with on a daily basis. The company is modernizing the way we all reach out, interact, schedule, pay and give feedback to our local businesses. When we had the opportunity to take a larger role in the growth of Podium and the positive change they are creating for the local economy, we were thrilled to partner in such a substantive way.”
Contactless payments started gaining traction in the mid-2000s, but there were rampant fears about security. That’s now changing as consumers are using smartphones enabled with Apple Pay, Google Pay and other offerings for contactless payments.