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Labor Day weekend is always bittersweet for me. On the one hand it’s generally my birthday weekend. 🎉

But at the same time I hate feeling like I’m celebrating the end of summer, especially considering that I live north of the 49th parallel!

Birthday aside, unlike a lot of parents I truly love the post Labor Day back to school week. What an opportunity kids have at the start of every school year to start fresh. Clean slate.

I like to take the opportunity to ask my kids what they are most proud of from the previous school year and then to consider what personal goals they would like to set for the coming year.

This year my daughter put the question back to me. Easy question to ask, harder to answer. But this year, I had just learned that the Canadian Innovation Exchange named Smooch to their Top 20 most innovative Canadian technology companies of 2018. I shared the news with my daughter who then asked why we were chosen. And so I reflected.

Our customers 💜

As Marc Andreessen famously said, "you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening." Last year was when we felt it and there is nothing I could be more proud of our team for achieving.

While we’ve had working product in market from day 1 of Smooch (which is a different story), only in the past year did we truly marry the right product with today’s market, and in came the most amazing customers we could have hoped for, building some of the most personal and personalized customer experiences on the market.

Here is a small selection of our new customers from the past year:

  • Genesys - When the world’s #1 CX platform picks you to power the messaging in their cloud offer, you sit down with your product and engineering team and say, "You nailed it!"
  • Betterment - The leading US robo-advisor platform went all human on us, leveraging Smooch for highly personalized 1:1 conversations with licensed financial advisors.
  • YaloChat - This Mexico City-based enterprise chatbot provider is on 🔥! AeroMexico, Walmart, Coppel and other leading consumer brands rely on our good friends at Yalo for fully automated conversations on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, always with the option to hand-off to a live agent via our Front integration.
  • Sparkcentral - This high-growth, messaging-centric social support platform powers rockstar brands like Slack, JetBlue and Delta. We in turn couldn’t be prouder to support Joe Gagnon and his team at Spark!
  • Bird - Some new customers fly right out of the gates, but we’ve never had a customer fly like Bird! I guess that’s why they were the fastest startup ever to achieve 🦄 status. If you ever have a problem with your Bird, their awesome support team is just a chat away, right from the Bird app.
  • Oracle - October 2017 saw Smooch being demoed live on stage at Oracle OpenWorld as part of their Intelligent Bot Platform launch. Special thanks to Suhas Uliyar, VP Bots, AI & Mobile, and his global team for their trust in Smooch.
  • Zingle - A longtime leader in the hotel texting space, this year Zingle decided it was time to expand beyond SMS and we couldn’t have been more proud that they chose Smooch for their IP messaging stack.
  • Lithium - On the heels of being acquired by Vista Equity Partners, this 17-year-old community and social media management juggernaut is still going strong and we’re humbled to be a part of their secure messaging solution. Congrats to the team on their recent merger with Spredfast!
  • Infobip - If a global communications platform leader like Infobip picked you for their own IP messaging solution, you’d blush too!
  • LiveChat - This global chat leader is trusted by over 25,000 businesses in 150 countries and we’re honored to be trusted by them to power their chat app support.
  • Clarabridge - Their mission is to help businesses win the hearts of customers, and they won ours when they selected us to power messaging within their CX Social product.

All the channels

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Going back as far as 2014 my co-founders and I were inspired by the rise of B2C messaging in Asia via WeChat, Line and Kakao Talk.

The Asian market dynamics were a foundational driver of our decision to start Smooch and we believed the trend would expand globally in no time.

Woops, wrong.

We had to wait until 2016 for Facebook Messenger to open up, but in 2017-2018 the messaging heavens opened up with the soft launches of RCS, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp Business API and Google My Business Messaging.

One of our core brand promises has always been that once you are integrated with Smooch you are connected to ALL THE CHANNELS, and I am happy to say we’ve kept our promise!

We integrated Apple Business Chat for multiple early access partners. We demoed our RCS integration with Google and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We are an official WhatsApp Business Solution provider and are already powering WhatsApp integrations for Zendesk, SparkCentral, Lithium, Clarabridge, and Four Seasons.

As with the Google Jibe team for RCS, we are working closely with Google as we wait for the launch of their GMB Messaging API.

Beyond channels - features, insights, scalability and security

We’ve always had plenty of product roadmap that we imagined up on our own, but with a slew of new customers came awesome new product input and feedback.

Here is a highlight reel of of what we’ve delivered over the past year:

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Team & culture

Last but not least, we’ve continued to grow our team and make Smooch an awesome place to work. Some highlights from last year included our summer beach party, our quarterly hackathons, archery dodgeball (which is surprisingly exhausing) and, of course, karaoke.

Oh, and we added 15 new and talented Smoochies in the past 12 months:

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Looking ahead…

So my daughter was pretty impressed with my recap of our prior School Work Year, but not so impressed that she failed to ask: So what are you going to do this year?!?!

My answer: If we could do the same all over again I’d be very proud, but the truth is we have a lot more planned. She got the full download, but is under strict NDA, so you’ll just have to wait. Stay up to date by watching this space and following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.