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8x8 Adds CPaaS Platform Through Acquisition

8x8, which just three weeks ago announced a stand-alone cloud contact center service -- after many years of treating contact center as a UC sidekick -- this week continued to reveal the evolution its strategic vision with news that it has acquired communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) provider Wavecell and will be adding a line of APIs to its product portfolio.
8x8 paid approximately $125 million, in cash and stock, for this CPaaS market entry, the company said. All Wavecell employees, including the executive team and about 80 or so developers, will join 8x8, said Darren Hakeman, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at 8x8, in a No Jitter briefing.
While 8x8 had been scouting out CPaaS opportunities for some time, it felt the “right combination” came together with Wavecell, said Hakeman, citing the robustness of the nine-year-old company’s API platform, the expertise of its team, and its extensive customer list. While not well-known in the U.S., home to 8x8’s largest customer base, the Singapore-based Wavecell has gained traction in the Asia Pacific region, Hakeman said. With its API platform, Wavecell provides multichannel communications across 190 countries via partnerships with 192 network operators and business partners like WhatsApp, 8x8 reported.
Since its founding in 2010, Wavecell has amassed more than 500 enterprise customers in Southeast Asia, including fintech startup Paidy, tech firm Tokopedia, and on-demand logistics company Lalamove, 8x8 reported. Its customers have shared more than 2 billion messages annually across its SMS, messaging, voice, and video channels, the company said.
8x8’s entrée into CPaaS and the addition of customizable SMS, messaging, voice, and video APIs to its pre-packaged UC, contact center, and video communications offerings demonstrates the growing emphasis on engagement within the enterprise, Hakeman said. No longer are businesses thinking about customer engagement and employee interactions as “just something that they do,” but rather as what defines them -- “it’s their strategic core, their differentiator,” he explained. “And so businesses want to be able to personalize those interactions and weave them into their business processes -- and they want to do that at scale,” he added.
Another driving factor in 8x8’s decision to make the move from CPaaS market observer to participant is its desire to deliver an integrated platform and unified data store, Hakeman said. Those are essential in being able to unleash the power of analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities end to end, he added. With those pieces in place, CPaaS was a natural next step, “a way to introduce transactional services immediately, but then as we go forward, leverage that as framework to unlock potential across our entire platform.”
Given the two companies’ different geographical focuses, 8x8 and Wavecell see minimal overlap in the their enterprise customer bases -- and that, Hakeman said, means there’s plenty of potential to extend the respective installed bases into new regions, as well as for cross-sell and upsell opportunities globally.