Interview with Scott Armstrong on HeyBubble Acquisition and Role of Startups

Interfacing Technologies Corporation has taken over New York based HeyBubble an award-winning provider of web live chat software. HeyBubble is a SAAS based sales and support live chat application, which strengthens and diversifies Interfacing’s client list by adding thousands of SMBs to its enterprise customer base.

Jean-François Sauvé, Interfacing CEO

This acquisition solidifies our commitment to providing tangible value to our clients through software solutions

HeyBubble started its operations in Paris in 2011 and moved to New York in 2012. They raised over $400,000 in two start up seed funding rounds. HeyBubble was awarded TechDay Techie Award in 2014 because of a wide array of features and also for creating a storm in the web based live chat industry.

In an exclusive interview with Learnxpress, Scott Armstrong, Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Interfacing shared more information about the merger deal in addition to a piece of advice for upcoming start up entrepreneurs.

Can you please share with us the real purpose of the acquisition?

(a) Strength and clear market differentiation of the features within their product. We were re-evaluating Live Chat Software for our own website ( because we were content with the product we were using at the time when we realized HeyBubble was the only product on market to offer all the features we were in search of. One of its key differentiators is it’s Skype integration – operators can conveniently respond to website visitors in real-time via Skype directly (no learning curve, all are comfortable with already and one less application to launch, sign-into and monitor)

(b) HeyBubbles automated referral program.  Heybubble developed an end-to-end commercial referral program for 3rd party websites that tracks visitors (even returning direct visitors) and pays a royalty to 3rd parties with zero human intervention.

(c) Fast growth of the live chat market (estimated that only 20% of the world’s websites have a live chat software installed on their site but user’s engaging with live chat is exponentially growing year over year and live chat is the best way to provide point of sales support.

(d) Corporate Diversification: Diversify our client base from primarily large enterprises to also include SMEs, Diversify our product portfolio beyond enterprise management solutions (Process, Performance, Risk & Quality) and Diversify our sales cycle from larger transactional project driven sales to also include short term mass volume low cost SAAS sales.

Live chat was famous before the evolution of social media. Do you still believe live chat i a great medium to address issues effectively?

Live chat and social media are two very different mediums with completely different purposes.  HeyBubble Live chat software allows you to track visitors on your website in real-time – what company they work for, what city they live in, what keywords they searched, what website referred them, what pages they’ve visited, for how long they spent on each page etc.  and beyond all that, of course chat with them through your website in real time – be proactive and engage them directly or respond to questions in real-time before they leave your site. Live chat is an excellent addition to every website. Here are some stats.

Do you think social media will one day replace live chat?

No because they serve different purposes. HeyBubble is not a tool to chat with a friend nor a tool to share socially, it’s a tool to provide high end customer service to website visitors and insight to your sales team.

Here are some stats about the value:

Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.

Is there any free edition of HeyBubble?

Yes, HeyBubble offers a free version of the software. Users can then upgrade their account to take advantage of more advanced functionality.

What is your advice for emerging startups?

My recommendation for start-ups are:

(a) Stay lean in the start.  With or without financing, too many start-ups spend too much too soon and often don’t put their spending to the right place –  IP & Sales/Marketing/Distribution is where you want your money to go.  Work day, nights & weekends and spend wisely – stretch the budget until it finances itself through sales revenue!

(b) Tech start-ups:  Scalability and performance are the first things they should be thinking about, not the last!  Find yourself a good Architect & Senior Developer as the initial core team to build off of.  These resources are very costly for start-ups but are key to long-term success for growth & exit strategy, but if don’t have the cashflow to acquire them, consider giving them a piece of the pie as remuneration – your IP’s value depends on it.

First time tech start-ups are constantly focused on how easy and quick is it develop an app and add some nice features but don’t realize until it’s too late that it was designed to 5 user and crumbles at 50… forget about 25,000… or 25M.  I always give CEOs the example of a contractor designing a skyscraper vs. a house –he will build it without taking critical variables into consideration because he lacks the knowledge and experience of an Engineer & Architect.  Just like a high-rise, the foundation is the most important thing to build off of within any application.

Can you share with us the roadmap of HeyBubble?

Our roadmap is confidential, but I can share that we will be highly investing in the continued development of the platform and are focused on further extending its differentiators.  In the very near-term we will be releasing a new sleek skin to the entire website and additional integration capabilities.  Overall our strategy is to focus on sales & customer service more so than support so we will be adding some very unique features that provide the maximum amount of “customer intelligence” to operating agents without even having to chat with visitors.

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