Communications hub startup FrontApp Inc. has raised $65 million in new funding to accelerate investments in both product and go-to-market initiatives.

Salesforce Ventures and Battery Ventures led the Series D round, with Sequoia Capital, Threshold Ventures, Uncork Capital and PageDuty Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Tejada, also participating.

The round was raised at a valuation of $1.7 billion, giving Front “unicorn” status for the first time. Including the new funding, the company has raised $203.6 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Founded in 2013, Front offers a multichannel inbox designed to centralize communication channels into one place. The company’s multichannel inbox application facilitates internal discussion with support for comments on each message. The service also adds collaboration and social features that enable users to chat efficiently and save time.

Front says that’s upending two of the largest and most deeply entrenched markets in software-as-a-service: email and customer support software. The company argues that businesses that rely on strong customer relationships to differentiate themselves are underserved by email and support software. Email is considered inefficient for teams, with no support for workflows, analytics or meaningful integration, and support software creates efficiencies that make customers feel like numbers.

The product differs by surrounding every conversation with team collaboration capabilities and customer data, with customers also able to ensure responses are always fast, accurate and deeply personalized. Front differs from ticketing software as it is inspired by email clients, which are familiar and easy to use by team members.

Front has seen strong growth, with 120% annual recurring revenue year-over-year off an undisclosed base, and it now sits at more than 8,000 customers, including five of the Fortune 25.

“When it comes to customer communication, technology rarely improves the relationships it’s designed to manage,” Mathilde Collin, co-founder and CEO of Front, said in a statement. “Efficiencies tend to come at the cost of quality of service: the so-called smart bots, the deflection techniques, the cold ticket numbers and impersonal processes. In the long run, both customers and businesses lose out.”

Collin added that “Front has taken a contrarian approach: We’re building technology that scales customer relationships without losing that human touch.”

With the new funding, Front intends to increase investments in product development efforts to empower support, operations and account management teams to build long-lasting relationships at large scale. For go-to-market, it will invest in new partnerships, geographies and gaining market share in industries where customer relationships drive business success more than any other factor, including professional services, financial services, logistics and business-to-business technology.

Image: FrontApp

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