STELLAService Inc., a provider of customer service ratings for online retailers, has raised $15 million in Series B financing. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, which included existing STELLAService investors including Battery Ventures, DFJ Gotham Ventures, RRE Ventures and Forerunner Ventures. As a result of the round, Josh Goldman, General Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, has joined the company’s board.
STELLAService, Inc. today announced it has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), a global multi-stage investment firm. STELLAService joins NVP’s retail and ecommerce portfolio that includes such companies as Gemvara, Gilt Groupe, ModCloth, Quirky and WhaleShark Media (RetailMeNot). Existing STELLAService investors including Battery Ventures, DFJ Gotham Ventures, RRE Ventures and Forerunner Ventures also participated in the round.
STELLAService’s new round of financing caps a year of success and expansion. Over the past 12 months the company has:
• Built and developed STELLA Metrics, the first data platform dedicated to monitoring and benchmarking every touch point of the online customer experience
• Deployed STELLA Metrics to charter partners that include some of the largest U.S. retailers
• Increased retailer adoption and consumer awareness of the STELLAService Seal, the Web’s only trustmark that objectively signals companies with great customer service
• Produced positive case studies with more than 15 retailers that showed a significant increase in sales achieved by prominently displaying the STELLAService seal
• Launched Happy Customer, an online publication for the ecommerce operator focused on customer service
• Produced 3,982,253 million data points on the service performance of online retailers
“STELLAService is on a mission to create a world with better service – we help consumers find it and we help businesses achieve it,” STELLAService Chief Executive Jordy Leiser said. “Each day, for the largest retailers in the country, we stress test their fulfillment and operations by ordering and returning real products; calling, emailing and live chatting customer service questions; and monitor customer service efforts via social media. We leverage our rigorous methodology for collecting data and measuring the speed and quality of every customer touch point. For the first time, major retailers now have a window into their service efforts and can objectively compare performance against any of their competitors on an ongoing basis, across every service channel. This new round of funding will help us expand and deepen our coverage of retailers and invest in a research team that is working closely with clients to identify competitive advantages and opportunities for high-impact improvement in the customer experience.”
STELLAService operates a nationwide team of analysts and highly trained mystery shoppers dedicated to stress testing the customer service performance of online retailers. The measurement process is audited by global auditing and accounting firm KPMG.
Through the STELLA Metrics online portal, retailers can monitor and manage performance across phone, email, chat, Twitter, shipping and returns. STELLA Metrics also allows retailers to analyze specific performance of their closest competitors, something that has never before been available.
“Not only does STELLAService capture how we are performing against the customer service targets we’ve set for ourselves, the greatest value has been the benchmarking data,” said Eddie Bauer’s senior vice president of sales and services. “With STELLAService, we know where we stand amongst the leading retailers and where the best in class perform across key customer service metrics. This insight pushes Eddie Bauer to continually make improvements to be the best.”
STELLAService also announced that Josh Goldman, General Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, joined the company’s Board of Directors. At NVP, Josh focuses on investments in consumer-facing Internet products and services including search, e-commerce, social networking and digital media. His current investments and board seats include ModCloth, Quirky, Lumosity, Gilt Groupe, Sojern, and WhaleShark Media (RetailMeNot), and he also holds board observer or advisory roles with Retrevo, Apigee, Sabre Holdings, and JiWire.
Goldman’s first executive leadership role was as president and CEO of mySimon, Inc., a pioneer in online comparison shopping services. Josh oversaw all aspects of the company’s growth culminating in its acquisition by CNet Networks in early 2000 for $703 million.
“There is no other objective, third-party rating system or reliable measurement of merchant quality in the online retail sector today that accurately evaluates customer service. STELLAService is the first and only company to utilize a consistent, bottom-up approach to rate businesses,” said Goldman. “As the first-mover in a vast market, STELLAService has already established critical relationships with the leading retailers, comparison shopping engines, and top academic and thought leaders in the customer service industry. The company’s proprietary data offering provides valuable, objective insight for measuring, benchmarking and improving customer service, and it has already proven to increase sales conversion for merchants. We look forward to partnering with STELLAService at a time when customer service is emerging as an increasingly important decision factor for the growing number of online shoppers in the U.S.”
With this Series B financing, STELLAService has now raised a total of $22 million.
STELLAService is dedicated to customer service – helping consumers find it and helping businesses achieve it. STELLAService is the first and only independent provider of customer service ratings for online retailers. The company leverages a nationwide network of full-time mystery shoppers to evaluate each site undercover, ensuring findings that are unbiased and true to the shopping experience. Based in New York City, the company also builds STELLA Metrics, a platform for monitoring and benchmarking customer service performance across hundreds of metrics. In addition, the company publishes reports and other research to help companies worldwide improve their service operations.
About Norwest Venture Partners
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a multi-stage investment firm that has partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 50 years. The firm manages over $3.7 billion in capital and has funded more than 500 companies since inception. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India and Herzelia, Israel. NVP makes early to late-stage venture and growth equity investments across a wide range of sectors including: technology, information services, business services, financial services, consumer products/services and healthcare. For more information, please visit www.nvp.com Follow NVP on Twitter @NorwestVP