It has been two and half years since StellaService raised its last round of venture capital — a lifetime for a venture-backed startup with traction.
“We’re like the non-exciting, build-the-business-the-right-way story,” said Jordy Leiser, the company’s CEO, describing the financing.
No, StellaService is not the next Uber or Airbnb, but it has big retail companies paying it real money to track their customer service. And that was enough to attract a new set of investors who wanted to give the startup a new chunk of cash. The company is announcing today a fresh $15 million in funding led by Comcast Ventures, with participation from new investors Toba Capital and Novel TMT. StellaService has now secured $37 million in venture capital.
StellaService’s long-term goal is to be the syndicated data provider that measures customer service performance for all types of companies. In that way, it is trying to build for the customer service industry what the measurement firm Nielsen has built for the media consumer-packaged goods sectors.
For now, the startup is focused exclusively on measuring customer service performance for retail and e-commerce companies only. Customer service plays a huge role in e-commerce today, as small retailers and older traditional retailers alike vie to compete with Amazon’s historically great service.
StellaService gathers data by hiring hundreds of “shoppers” to make purchases and returns each day from companies across the U.S. and U.K. That data lets it track metrics such as delivery, refund speed and response times from customer service reps via phone and email. It is also piloting a program that will measure in-store customer service when a shopper buys something online and either picks it up or returns it at a brick-and-mortar store.
It collects data about the most important e-commerce companies, whether they are clients or not. But Stella clients, which the website says include Walmart and Abercrombie, pay the startup on average over $100,000 a year for access to their performance data as well as that of their competitors.
Stella generates additional revenue by licensing data to Google, which uses it in the five-star rating system that shows up in AdWords ads for Google product search results. Stella data is also displayed on a merchant’s profile page on Google.
Stella is not yet profitable, but revenue grew more than 100 percent last year, Leiser said. The company, which has around 70 full-time employees, will use the cash injection to build new products and expand further into brick-and-mortar store measurement and new geographies. The company is also in active discussions to expand its service to measure companies in industries other than retail, too.
“We believe this is not a retail thing — it’s a customer service thing,” he said. “There’s no way this story is as big of a story as we think it can be without expanding beyond retail.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.