Calgary’s IrisCX has closed $6.2 million CAD ($4.6 million USD) in equity seed funding from Minneapolis-based, B2B software-focused investor Arthur Ventures to expand its customer interaction platform and support its go-to-market efforts.
IrisCX helps home product and services companies offer customers video-based sales and after-sales support. Home product and services companies span home furnishing and building products firms to utilities and electrical equipment manufacturers.
The startup was launched in 2018 under the name ICwhatUC, with a focus on changing the way home and field service repair work is delivered, after its founders became frustrated with phone-based troubleshooting and lengthy wait times for service calls. The company rebranded to IrisCX in September and expanded its focus beyond just repairs to facilitating sales.
IrisCX co-founder and CEO Guillermo Salazar believes virtual service will play a “huge role” going forward.
IrisCX co-founder and CEO Guillermo Salazar described the name change and pivot as “a strategic decision to focus on the entire customer experience.” Salazar told BetaKit that IrisCX offers more than just after-sales support, “helping end customers make the best buying decision for home products and services”—where it sees a large market opportunity.
Through its platform, IrisCX enables companies like Enbridge, Con Edison, Span, and Atco to provide video guidance to consumers, helping them choose the right products and perform tasks traditionally done by technicians. “It’s a win-win,” said Arthur Ventures general partner Patrick Meenan. “Consumers receive an improved buyer and user experience while brands both reduce overhead and improve customer satisfaction.”
Salazar believes virtual service will play a “huge role” going forward amid rising consumer expectations and the pandemic-fuelled shift towards technology. “As consumers, we’re often forced to settle for a poor sales and support experience,” he added. “Things like chatbots and 1-800 numbers are painful. In today’s digital-first world, this kind of customer experience is antiquated and unacceptable.”
IrisCX’s latest round, which closed in December, brings the startup’s total funding to $9.2 million CAD ($6.8 million USD). This includes $2.3 million CAD ($1.7 million USD) in pre-seed financing raised in 2021 from Heron Rock Fund, San Francisco’s Forum Ventures, and other undisclosed investors. IrisCX also participated in Stage 2 Capital’s accelerator program in July 2022, receiving an undisclosed investment from the American venture capital firm. Earlier this year, IrisCX also received $270,000 from PrairiesCan to enhance its platform using artificial intelligence.
Stage 2 Capital partner Sean Po, managing director of its accelerator program, said Stage Capital chose IrisCX because its team “has a novel approach to a common problem that represents a huge addressable market.”
“Every homeowner is constantly faced with situations where you just need to ask the right expert a few questions with the context of your home or space in mind,” said Salazar, who noted that currently, many brands are attempting to provide photo or video assistance on an “ad hoc basis”—an approach that does not scale. IrisCX aims to offer a better way.
To date, IrixCX has facilitated over 30,000 video sessions between product experts and consumers. According to IrisCX, which did not disclose exact figures, the company quintupled its revenue in 2022 and is on track to double its revenue this year.
IrisCX currently has about 40 customers, many of which are major home product brands located in Canada and the United States focused on home furnishings, building products, and outdoor products. The company has seen organic growth with utilities, municipalities for home and building instructions, and new residential construction—sectors where many experts spend the majority of the working day in transit between sites.
The startup intends to use its latest funding round to double the size of its 17-person team, add new product capabilities, and bring more large North American home product and services companies to its platform.
Feature image courtesy IrisCX.