HomeFundingBerlin-based Charles picks up €19.5 million to bring conversational commerce to Europe

Berlin-based Charles picks up €19.5 million to bring conversational commerce to Europe

German startup Charles is bringing something new to Europe – conversational commerce (cCommerce). The Berlin-based company has just bagged €19.5 million for its platform as part of its plans to harness the power of chat apps in the commerce space.

Ecommerce has been a booming industry for Europe in the past couple of years and we’ve seen plenty of fresh innovation that is keeping the market spinning. Today, though, something pretty unique has caught our attention – conversational commerce. Berlin-based startup Charles is unlocking this new SaaS solution in Europe and has just picked up €19.5 million to do so. 

The Funding

This Series A round was led by Salesforce Ventures. Accel and HV Capital, who led the company’s seed round in 2021, also participated in the round.

Introducing Charles

Founded in 2020 by Andreas Tussing and Artjem Weissbeck, Charles enables merchants to provide conversational marketing and commerce experiences via chat apps. Essentially, the conversational-first operating system brings the full ecommerce process into the likes of WhatsApp, bringing consumers and companies closer together. 

With the platform, businesses can sell products, send newsletters and support customers via chat – personalising consumer experience. It works by seamlessly connecting chat app APIs like WhatsApp with systems like Salesforce and Shopify. 

​​Artjem Weissbeck, co-founder and co-CEO at Charles, explained: “Since day one, our mission has been to make commerce more personal by bringing it into our most human habit: conversations. Rich messaging apps, like WhatsApp, have been proven to facilitate this in Latin America and Asia by combining sales, marketing and service in one ongoing conversation. This is something ecommerce has failed to do due to the forced marriage of web shops and email. Conversational commerce is now sweeping over Europe and there’s never been a better way for brands to wow their customers.”

Charles was launched as a solution to a problem the two founders had personally experienced. Back in 2019, Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing initially launched a WhatsApp-first clothing brand. While customers loved the seamless and personal experience, Tussing and Weissbeck could not find any software that combined service, sales and newsletter functionalities for chat apps in a single place. Consequently, they decided to pivot their business and build a true category creating software in the field of “cCommerce”.

Fresh Approaches

Conversational commerce has picked up traction in markets such as Asia and Latam (where it’s reported about 50% of consumers purchase via chat apps), but it’s still a pretty new concept here in Europe. It certainly has big market potential and it’s an interesting new development for the ecommerce world. Brining more personalisation to shopping experiences is known to boost business success and customer fulfilment. 

The Berlin-born platform has already reported healthy signs for the future. According to the team,  several of its 100+ customers have hit 7-digit WhatsApp revenues in 2022 and the platform has also been driving 10-40% of their sales via chat. In addition, clients have had more than 90% opening rates and 8x more revenue per recipient via WhatsApp newsletters than via email.

In times of economic uncertainty, these figures show strong market potential and Charles has been building up a new, fast-growing revenue channel.

Nowi Kallen, Managing Director at Salesforce Ventures, said: “Charles is a true category creator. Artjem and Andreas are on a mission to drive better experiences for consumers and better outcomes for merchants resulting in higher engagement, higher sales and lower customer acquisition costs. Customers rave about Charles’ capabilities and service so we could not be more excited to partner with the Charles team.”

What’s Next

This fresh funding is a massive boost to the company’s ambition to become the leading conversational commerce platform for brands and enterprises across Europe. It has already picked up traction, with many brands showing interest in joining the conversational commerce trend. The funding will be used to expand operations from Germany into key European markets and to target larger enterprise clients.

Andreas Tussing, co-founder and co-CEO at Charles, added: “In the last two years, we’ve been writing playbooks for cCommerce in Europe with some incredibly innovative brands. On the way, Charles has matured to become a true suite that’s now ready for enterprise clients. We see cCommerce becoming a secret weapon for many brands in times where they must go the extra mile to win new customers and nurture existing ones. With Salesforce Ventures, we’ve found the perfect partner to unlock this potential in the years to come and are honored to welcome them alongside our existing investors Accel and HV Capital.” 

Patricia Allen
Patricia Allen
is the Head of Content at EU-Startups. With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media.
RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular