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Talkdesk Digital Showdown: May the Best Partner Win

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Few know better than Tiago Paiva, Talkdesk CEO, about the value of a technology demo face-off. At the first annual TwilioCon in 2011, nine companies competed on stage in front of an audience of 600 for a chance to win one of two final investments from the first Twilio Fund, $250 thousand of seed capital for Twilio-powered startups.
 
When it was over, Twilio Fund announced a $50,000 investment in Paiva’s cloud phone support software company, Talkdesk, and as they say, the rest is history. Nine years later, Talkdesk has garnered $267 million in venture capital funding with a recent valuation of over $3 billion.
 

Paiva and co-founder Cristina Fonseca (right foreground), hacking away on Talkdesk’s original code at TwilioCon.

Image: Author
 
It’s not surprising then to learn that Talkdesk has created an event, Talkdesk Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX, to bring companies together to showcase innovation. While there are similarities to the Twilio competition and other similar competitions like Salesforce Demo Jam, there are differences as well.
 
Each innovator will have three minutes to convince attendees that they have the best app to improve the customer experience (CX). An audience will watch the demos, compare the apps, and vote live to decide which winner will get $10,000 to donate to their selected charity. Each partner has selected a charity that will receive a $1,000 donation in honor of their participation, with $10,000 donated to the winner’s charity.
 
Unlike the event that Paiva won nine years ago, “live” in the age of COVID has taken on a new meaning. If you have been to an Enterprise Connect webinar, you’re familiar with the concept of poll questions. Talkdesk will use a similar method to capture votes during the Showdown event.
 
Instead of start-ups, Talkdesk has invited nine of its AppConnect partners to compete to be crowned the most innovative CX solution. There are over 60 AppConnect partners. 10 have been added in 2020, and over 20 are currently engaged and in development for listing over the coming months.
 
One of the AppConnect program features is a 30-day free trial of any application in the program – which some competitors were quick to mimic once they saw its popularity with customers. Over the last 12 months, Talkdesk reports that 43% of all customers installing and adding products through the AppConnect marketplace utilized the free trial feature. Talkdesk added that approximately 20% of customers attach a partner solution directly from the AppConnect marketplace to enhance their Talkdesk solution.
 
For the competition, Talkdesk defined three categories of applications: cost and operational efficiency, remote contact center management, and remote security. To find out which companies are participating in the event, as well as how they were chosen, I reached out over email to the Showdown’s organizer, Peri McDonald, vice president, customer and partner marketing at Talkdesk. “Partners were selected to represent the breadth of solutions within the AppConnect marketplace,” McDonald said. “As well as their popularity as add-ons to the Talkdesk application,” she added. Several of the partners participating offer capabilities that Talkdesk customers continually add to their tech stack. The nine companies participating in these categories are:
 
  • Operational & Cost Efficiency Category: Sentiment.io, Observe.ai, and Zingtree.
  • Remote Contact Center Management Category: Envision, Krisp, and Hoopla.
  • Remote Security Category: Daon, Textline, and PCI Pal.

 

With webinar and virtual event fatigue setting-in, I asked McDonald how she planned to create excitement for the live audience. “Because our innovators are presenting live, they only have one shot to impress our live audience,” McDonald said. “Also, our hosts have a no-mercy buzzer that will ring at exactly 3 minutes.” Not only will the demos and voting be live, but the winner will also be announced live during the event. Talkdesk and the nine AppConnect partners are sharing the event broadly in their marketing channels, and they hope to have 1,000+ attendees.

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