Channels communication software startup supports event handling with text workflow – TechCrunch


Three University of Michigan students build Channels Inc., communications software designed for physical workers, and which already has large customers in the event management industry.

Siddharth Kaul, 18, Elan Rosen, 20, and Ibrahim Mohammed, 20, started the company after finding common ground in retail and events. The firm’s client list includes names such as Marriott Hotels, and it has announced a $ 520,000 funding round, led by Sahra Growth Capital, to give it nearly $ 570,000 in total funding.

Kaul grew up attending many events in Kuwait and Dubai, but began to notice that there was a delay in things that should be happening and that many processes were done on paper and pen.

“The available technology was inharmonious and made it difficult for physical workers to perform tasks,” Kaul told TechCrunch. “We’ve seen it happen in the event management space, forcing workers to coordinate between technologies. “

Older communication platforms like Slack bundle communication together, but are better for remote workers; for physical workers, they rely more on text communication, he said. However, the downside to texting is that you have to keep scrolling to get to the new message, and the old communication is lost amid all the replies.

They began to develop a platform for small hotels to help them go digital and provide non-chronological communication that is easier to access, allows for discussion, and can be searchable. Users of the SaaS platform can create live staff maps to see where employees are located and what the event is like, prioritize alerts and automate tasks while monitoring progress.

Marriott became a customer after one of its employees saw the Channels platform being tested at an event. He saw employees pull out their phones and asked the manager why they were doing this. He was told they were testing the product and referred it to Kaul.

“What they found helpful was that it was all about communication, and although the employees were checking their phones, it was quick and they remained attentive,” Kaul said.

Channels provides a solid platform in terms of analytics and graphing, which is a major selling point for clients, leading to initial traction and revenue for the business that Rosen says can happen. at the level of the agreement for which the company is striving.

The new funding will be used to expand development and bring additional engineering talent to the team. In addition, it will allow Kaul and Rosen to continue their education, while Mohammed will work more full time. They want to increase their recurring revenues in the Middle East while expanding their business in the United States.

Jamal Al-Barrak, managing partner of Sahra Growth Capital, said Channels has been on his business radar since winning the 2020 Dubai X-Series competition he is sponsoring. By winning the competition, he got to see the founders repeatedly and hear their growth.

Sahra does not usually invest in companies like Channels, but the company has launched a “seed supply effort” to invest between $ 200,000 and $ 800,000 in start-ups, Al-Barrak said. Channels is one of the first investments in this effort.

“Channels is one of our first investments in this initiative and they look very promising so far, even compared to our investments before the launch of this initiative,” Al-Barrak said. He liked the work ethic of the founders and their focus on the events industry, which he described as “historically outdated and devoid of technological innovation.”

“Sid, Elan and Ibrahim are some of the youngest and brightest entrepreneurs I have met to date and have invested in over 25 tech startups,” he said. “Plus, I appreciated that they had a proof of concept with past customer base and income. I was very impressed with their vision beyond their industry and their current boundaries as they want to encapsulate the communication for all physical workers, be it events, retail or more.


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