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Ringover: From telephony to global business collaboration

Ringover and Expedition’s partnership

With Web Real Time Communications technology (WebRTC) finally coming of age in 2014, Jean-Samuel Najnudel and Renaud Charvet knew it was the right time to develop and launch Ringover, a simple, intelligent, easy-to-use cloud-based contact centre and communications platform. In December 2020, we invested in Ringover, to support research and development, and help the team grow globally, so that more companies can maximise the value of their business communications.

Great customer experience is a huge differentiator for businesses today. More than 70% of consumers expect to receive personalised experiences and get frustrated when this doesn’t happen, while 60% of consumers are ready and willing to switch supplier in order to get that better experience.

But it can be a challenge for companies to meet this level of expectation with their communications. Larger organisations often have a complex web of customer-facing systems – telephony, contact centre applications, CRM, and more – which have built up over the years and rely on IT focus and budget to keep them integrated and usable. Meanwhile, many smaller companies still rely on highly manual processes and a surprising amount of cut and paste to manage their customer interactions.

“We created Ringover to help companies of all sizes to connect with prospects, customers, and each other, in a single easy-to-use solution,” says Jean-Samuel Najnudel, chairman and co-founder of Ringover. “We then get machines and AI to do the boring and time-consuming bits of the processes, so the people can focus on tasks that need their specific knowledge or add the most value to the business.”

Jean-Samuel Najnudel and Renaud Charvet, Co-founders of Ringover

The early years

Jean-Samuel and Renaud Charvet, Ringover’s managing director, are long term business partners with a heritage in the telecoms sector. Based in Paris, France, they first worked together in 2005 to deliver cheap international phone calls, an experience that gave them firm principles for the company they run today.

“We started out in the consumer arena, and we needed a company-wide culture of making stuff simple to access and easy to use in order to be successful,” Jean-Samuel says. “That’s something we’ve kept central to everything we’ve done since, including at Ringover. I don’t understand why so many other B2B companies don’t do this for their customers. Business people are consumers too, right?”

Today, this customer focus is supported by a lot of smart, cloud-based technology. Ten years ago, the team wasn’t keen on using voice over IP (VoIP) as running a business-grade service would have required equipment at every customer site and extraordinarily good internet connections. But in 2015, Jean-Samuel and Renaud had a conversation with Ludovic Rateau, now Ringover’s chief technology officer (CTO), and they realised that web-based communications technology was ready for them to work with.

”In fact, this was the beginning of everything,” Jean-Samuel says. “Because when your phone system becomes software, then it becomes possible to connect it with all the other business software you run, for example your CRM or helpdesk platform.” Ringover integrates with all the leading names, including Salesforce CRM, Zendesk, HubSpot, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, and many more.

Being a software business enables Ringover to develop its own value-added services, like real-time statistics, analytics, and support for sales onboarding and coaching, as well as the ability to significantly streamline workflows and improve processes.

Opportunity investment

After three years of research and development, Ringover launched in 2018. Its strong focus on both technology and customer needs quickly delivered results, with the company reaching 10,000 customers just over a year later. Now, more than 250 million call minutes pass through the Ringover platform, and customers include European tech recruitment platform, digital marketing platform Sendinblue, and freelancer marketplace Malt.

Ringover achieved all of this success as a bootstrapped company. But in 2020, Jean-Samuel and Renaud realised that they would need external investment to help Ringover take its next steps.

“We had a very advanced product and our customers loved us,” Jean-Samuel says. “But our industry can be quite brutal – size matters, and we needed to grow.” Ringover had already extended its reach outside of France, with a third of its customers coming from the UK and Spain, but the team wanted to consolidate that to become a truly international company, including expanding into the US.

“Until then we’d been making decisions based on getting short-term returns on our investment,” Jean-Samuel says. ”But international expansion requires a much longer-term perspective on investment returns, so it’s hard to prioritise those plans when you’re bootstrapped.” Additional investment would also enable Ringover to grow its operations faster, speeding up development and the release of unique new product features.

Our partnership

We discovered Ringover while doing a thematic deep dive into researching contact centre software. “I was immediately struck by Ringover’s strong technology base, as well as the genuine love their customers have for them,” David Olsson says, our investment manager. “Jean-Samuel and Renaud have leveraged considerable skills and learnings from the past 15 years to build a proprietary and cutting-edge technology platform that’s genuinely customer-focused.” We could see that Ringover had been a successful and rapidly growing company even before Covid jumpstarted the market for remote collaboration, and we were interested to meet the team behind it.

The Ringover team also wanted to know more about us. “When we had our first contact with Expedition, with David and Oliver, we could see straight away they were good people,” Jean-Samuel says. “But we also liked Expedition’s approach – they were really interested in the market and in us. It was clear they understood what we did, and they already had quite detailed insights and advice ready for us at our first meeting. We felt we were on the same page.”

Having common ground was particularly important for Jean-Samuel and Renaud. “It’s not just about the money: our investors become our partners. We want to work with people who deeply understand what we do, and who can really help us to progress, particularly in our efforts to grow across Europe and internationally,” Jean-Samuel says.

Working through the investment agreement confirmed to the Ringover team that they’d made the right decision. “The negotiations were really smooth and pleasant to work on – not at all complicated,” Jean-Samuel says. “Both sides had things they wanted, we each expressed them, worked through them together nicely, and came out with a great deal for both sides. We’re really happy to be working with Expedition today.”

Looking ahead

Our investment in Ringover has enabled the company to move ahead with its international expansion plans, with new offices recently opened in Atlanta, US. The sales, marketing, and customer success teams have grown significantly, and new platform features are launching more quickly, helping the company to grow even faster.

“Joining up with Expedition has been a really positive change for Ringover,” Jean-Samuel says. “When we took on investment, we could have ended up feeling like we’d lost our freedom. But the reality is that we’ve gained a true partner, and we highly value the support and advice they give us when we need it.”

It’s a positivity we share. “We are pleased to be working with a team with such skill and ambition,” David says. “They’ve already gained a lot of traction since our investment, and are well on the way to becoming a global leader in customer care. We’re excited to be a part of Ringover’s success.”

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