With the rise of e-commerce, immediate access to support can be essential for customer engagement and retention. The global live chat software market is projected to reach $1 billion by 2023.
Following his decade-plus of business development and sales leadership, Justin McDonald saw the potential in Atlanta-based live chat startup Ramble Chat after being approached by then-CEO Steve Smithwick about joining the company in an advisory role. Ramble Chat was born in 2016 to create a more powerful and agile way for businesses to deploy live chat for instant support.
“During my personal due diligence, the startup had to pass with flying colors for me to be able to make the move. It not only did so, but well-exceeded my expectations — both from a technology perspective as well as the company and the employees as a whole,” he says.
McDonald’s experience in sales and marketing software clicked with the team and as of this August, he has taken up the CEO post to execute on Ramble Chat’s pivot into the enterprise B2B space.
“One of the things was taking a look at the product and making sure that the innovation and the features solved the necessary problems.The technology was there; the messaging and how we position the product to the B2B market needed tweaking,” says McDonald. “Over the past few months we’ve been exploring where we fit in the market, what’s our differentiation, and how do we productize these different components so that it resonates with the actual buyers.”
Under his leadership, Ramble Chat has released its new iteration — a dynamic chat and messaging software with the ability to deploy across any digital location and within any existing software application or ecosystem. “The way we’re going to market, it’s going to create a lot of clarity for the enterprises and the B2B folks that we’re targeting of,” says McDonald.
“From a sales and marketing perspective, customers have a new standard — it’s instant gratification. Businesses like to meet buyers at the moment of interest no matter where they are on the digital spectrum. You’re no longer bound by the traditional marketing approach of pushing prospects and customers to your website,” says McDonald. “Our single-click chat allows businesses to embed chat anywhere.”
The startup now offers two product lines: the first, Ramble SaaS, is a single-click chat targeted towards sales and marketing teams to engage in conversation with prospective buyers at the moment of interest, just by posting a URL anywhere in the page. “It eliminates all the prospective friction,” says McDonald.
The second product is aimed at developers who are looking for an easy way to deploy live chat and messaging into existing software applications. The addition of the Chat Container API creates a secure, real-time chat window for immediate use.
Entering an established startup isn’t always easy, but McDonald shares that he took the time to slowly integrate into the team by “creating a culture of respect, of motivation, and of hard work.”
“I’m a servant leader, in addition to being high functioning with high expectations as it relates to the team’s output and company growth. Over the next few months I’m going to do a lot of listening and really try to get my arms around the company and ask a lot of questions. I’ll be running the company, but I don’t like to come in with the aspect of ‘I’m above everyone’.”
Ramble Chat is heading into growth mode — McDonald is actively having conversations with local venture firms and angel investors now to raise between $1-1.5 million.
“We’re in an early adoption model right now, running as a lean operation. We’ve spent the last six months investing heavily in product development and innovation,” says McDonald. “With the new funding, about 80 percent of it will be spent on sales and marketing and customer acquisition.”
“Ramble is poised very well to help revolutionize digital engagement as it is extremely scalable and it’s very different than a lot of the traditional live chat vendors.”