Operations and Management

IvyTalk Spreads the Message

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 01, 2012

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions

It you run an organization in which everybody is not on e-mail, you probably know just how difficult it can be to reach your employees quickly and easily should an urgent matter arise. However, a new company called IvyTalk – whose founders have roots in the cellular service provider and software worlds – aims to make it easier for businesses to communicate with their own employees, as well as with their customers and their suppliers.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company does that by enabling two-way conversations via a variety of mediums – including e-mail, Facebook (News - Alert), mobile applications, pagers, SMS short code, long code, and web interface – and allowing for the people on the different ends of a communication to use the mode of their choice, even if that’s a different mode from the one on the other end. This is delivered as a SaaS (News - Alert)-based offer for which organizations can pay monthly or annually.

IvyTalk CEO and founder Mary Jesse says to offer e-mail and voicemail used to be sufficient, but now end users are demanding a wider array of options – including mobile ones – in how they can communicate.

The company is targeting its solution at hospitality, retail, utility and emergency services applications. For example, a large grocer uses the solution to reach out to its employees in the event of an emergency, such as when its stores get flooded, which is not an uncommon occurrence, Jesse explains.

Although IvyTalk launched this fall at the CTIA (News - Alert) show, the company already serves more than 5,000 users, and it’s ramping up sales in its target verticals, says Jesse, who in the past has served as an executive at pioneering cellular company McCaw and then AT&T (News - Alert) Wireless. While IvyTalk is initially working directly with enterprises to really understand their needs, the goal is to have channel partners in each of the verticals it targets.

“We want to be the Intel (News - Alert) inside” and not have large sales force, she says.

IvyTalk, which employs about 17 people, got its initial funding from angel investors. In mid December the company had expected to close its first round of funding by end of 2011.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi