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SharpenCX Acquires Webtext

SharpenCX, a unified contact center platform company, today announced it has completed the acquisition of Webtext, an omnichannel messaging solution. With the acquisition, SharpenCX broadens its mission to offer innovative digital engagement options for on-premises contact centers, including webchat and social channels.

Founded in 2011, SharpenCX is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, and their leadership team has several executives with long histories with quintessential Indiana technology companies. Pam Hynes, chief operating officer, and Kevin Schatz, chief technology officer, each spent many years at Interactive Intelligence, the contact center company acquired by Genesys in 2016. Adam Settle, chief product officer, spent several years at Angie’s List.

While Webtext is not exactly a household brand name, I have been following the Galway-based business for over ten years. "Webtext: Bringing SMS to the Contact Center" appeared on No Jitter in 2014. The brothers that founded the company, AJ and Michael Cahill, had begun making inroads with their solution in both Europe and United States. As I reported, at the time Webtext was helping organizations in public services, education, and health care industries to modernize their customer experiences by incorporating text into contact center operations.

In the years since then, Webtext expanded the number of solutions they offer, as seen in the graphic below. Their key additions were campaign management for digital outbound engagement and digital channels. Both can be added on top of existing premises-based call centers who want digital functionality but are not yet ready to move their voice operation to the cloud.

Similarly, SharpenCX strengthened the breadth of its offerings in the past few years with funds from three financing rounds, the last a majority control investment by TELEO Capital Management, LLC in December 2022. Adding a no code/low code design tool was one of those key enhancements. Kevin Hatch, operating partner at TELEO Capital, is now CEO of SharpenCX and drove the decision to acquire Webtext.

The marketecture below provides a graphic depiction of the areas (marked with a plus) where Webtext enriches the existing SharpenCX solution. Some of the other key synergies are highlighted in the center of the graphic. Born in -- not moved to -- the cloud is a key attribute of the combined Webtext + SharpenCX solution. Both companies designed their products using a microservices architecture, both in the AWS cloud.

An All in One Unified Contact Center Platform

Note in the bottom left of the graphic that SharpenCX is both a UCaaS and CCaaS solution. Like other solution providers with both capabilities, SharpenCX has found its contact center features, e.g., recording, are often useful for traditional UCaaS-only users.

In a pre-announcement interview with the newly combined executive team, Hynes reported that 60% of existing SharpenCX users can be classified as UCaaS and the remaining 40% CCaaS. Some portion of those users will also combine SharpenCX with Microsoft Teams or Zoom to add additional functionality. For a certain size of business, e.g., below 1,000 employees, this allows SharpenCX to be the core enterprise communications software, replacing premises contact centers and PBXs.

Beyond product, there are great go-to-market synergies in a combined SharpenCX and Webtext. More than a decade ago, Webtext began as a messaging overlay solution for both cloud and premises contact center solutions. An early Amazon Connect partner, Webtext has also worked as a technology partner with Avaya, Cisco, Five9, Genesys and Mitel – often at the channel partner level, helping create end-to-end solutions. Webtext’s European roots are also a plus for historically US-focused SharpenCX.

Webtext has been successfully selling a digital-first offer to companies with on-premises contact center solutions wanting to add digital engagement innovation. The combined SharpenCX and Webtext can continue to market to firms wanting to add digital while maintaining an existing voice contact center but can now also offer a path to a full cloud contact center solution.

I can imagine the skeptical industry reader thinking, can SharpenCX + Webtext find success in an already crowded market? My response is that it depends on how you define the market: with so many UCaaS and CCaaS companies chasing the elusive “enterprise” market, it is refreshing to see one focused squarely on helping mid-market firms accomplish a digital transformation with an agent-first focus.