See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based Delighted, the Japanese startup offering an iPad-powered unmanned reception system called Receptionist, announced on Wednesday that it had fundraised 120 million yen (about $1.13M US) from Daiwa Corporate Investment, Tsuneishi Capital Partners, and an undisclosed private investment partner in a series A round. The investment ratios and payment dates are undisclosed.
Receptionist is a cloud-based reception service that substitutes existing messaging tools from Facebook, Slack, etc., through an iPad app for companies that are dependent upon internal landlines. When a visitor chooses a contact person with the iPad app, a notification of the visit is sent directly to his or her messaging tool. It has also a management function to collect the visitor’s information, such as the visitor’s name and company name (only when provided) in addition to the number of visits or visit times by contact person.
The company is currently promoting service development and implementation with a team of about 20 people, and will further strengthen its personnel with this funding.
Supporting Smartphones to Improve Usability
Following the announcement of answering accumulated 10,000 calls at receptions across their user base as of March 2017, the unmanned reception app has steadily increased their users. It has grown up to 210,000 calls in total as of March this year, and according to Delighted CEO Mariko Hashimoto there are examples among them of companies on a scale of 500 people.
The company is also preparing for new services that are compatible with smartphones. Those that have used Receptionist probably understand, but entering the name of the contact person on the iPad or inputting one’s own name or company name is still troublesome (however, writing it out by hand is more so). It was said that the smartphone app currently under development will eliminate such poor usability, but unfortunately the details cannot be published yet.
I often come across the unmanned reception app now in my visit to companies. Regarding use cases, some examples include: in a development room when you do not want to put a landline due to the noise it causes, or if you move seats or change the floor layout and do not want to use a landline because they are cumbersome to move around. Essentially, it solves problems often found at companies with a lot of movement, especially Internet-based ones.
On the other hand, I also looked into cases of companies that did not introduce it, and on the contrary, some said they prefer the sound of a landline, and for those companies where internal communication equals telephones with the fixed concept of “telephone families” it appears difficult to accept such a new tool.
As a slight digression, I believe the way people are thinking about the telephone, even around me, has changed considerably. While there are many people taking the “tactless” way of calling suddenly and depriving each other of time for communication purposes, there are also those times where it is better to explain important issues, especially when trouble arises, with voice. With the number of tools increasing, perhaps we have to think more about what’s the right tool for the right place.
Additionally, it appeared the company was considering various uses of the visitor data gradually accumulated in each company. News regarding this will be released as development progresses.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda