Meet Our Startup of the Year Competition Semifinalists: LiveAnswer

October 1, 2015

4:00 pm

From apps to hardware, to KickStarter successes and international startups, we’re inching closer to finding out who will take home the title of Startup of the Year competition at our annual Celebrate Conference in October. Among the dozens of participants that applied for the online competitions, only a few progressed into the semifinals.

Climbing the ranks for our Miami Florida region, LiveAnswer was one of two semifinal winners. If they come out on top, LiveAnswer can expect prizes and support from Tech Wildcatters, 500Startups, Consumer Electronics Association, Crowdfunder, Techstars, American Airlines, and more!

In order to get a better understanding about what they do and how they are preparing for Celebrate, we sat down with LiveAnswers’ CEO Adam Boalt to hear about their journey to get to Celebrate.

Since launch LiveAnswer has been dedicated to finding better ways to help small and medium-sized businesses support their customers without a dedicated call center. Rather than a standalone unit for customer support calls, LiveAnswer provides a marketplace for call centers. Their approach was so successful that in the first year they had 1000 clients, including Uber.

This year, Adam and the LiveAnswer team plans to announce a new feature that will not only move the from a services company to a product company, but also unify the various communication systems they’ve supported. With just a single line of code, LiveAnswer will simplify a business’s platform for customers. “It’s a simple platform for customers to communicate agnostically through the channel that they want,” said Boalt. “It routes calls based on where they are in the purchasing funnel, what their interest is. You can define any segment based on their needs.”

Using either default templates or business defined rules, the updated LiveAnswer engine will route communication by customer prioritization, sales lead status, and even social following. According to Boalt they designed the update this way because all businesses have their own needs and processes, and require their own set of rules for communication. It also integrates will all the big name customer service and CRM systems like Hubspot, Zendesk, and Salesforce. The update will officially launch on December 5.

Tech.Co: Since launch, what was the most challenging part of gaining market traction?

Adam Boalt: Our biggest challenge was to persuade our call center partners of the concept of unoccupied time and how they could sell off their agent idle time to small businesses. Since then we’ve grown so quickly with over 1000 businesses utilizing our service, we’ve learned from our businesses while answering over a million calls that businesses don’t have the tools needed to effectively communicate with their customers. That’s why we plan on launching our new unified customer communication platform in Las Vegas at Tech.co Celebrate.  

Tech.Co: What was the road like leading up to your initial pitch for the competition? Did you do anything in particular to rally your fans and users?

Boalt: Yes, we did. We got them to buy into the idea that we’re not just doing it for ourselves, we are representing Miami and our fans and users from this area loved us for that approach.

Tech.Co Is this your first startup or have you all been part of others in the past?

Boalt: This is my 5th startup. I had an interactive agency named Boalt.  I had a social media management platform called GOSO, short for GoSocial. I built a direct mail campaign platform called Dukky. A passport expediting company called RushMyPassport.com and now LiveAnswer.

Tech.Co: How are you all prepping for the big semi-finals competition next month?

Boalt: We have been every day. Both in developing the new product and through team building exercises.

Tech.Co: How are you helping to support small businesses that would otherwise not be able to afford call center services?

Boalt: We are introducing a new product at Tech.co Celebrate that allows small businesses to use our product without the call center services.

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world. He also runs a non-profit, Digital District, which focuses on improving professional digital literacy in DC. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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