SendBird, a company that provides the infrastructure for developers to build messaging and chat services into their apps, has raised $16 million in a series A round of funding led by Shasta Ventures and August Capital, with participation from Y Combinator and FundersClub.
Redwood City, California-based SendBird serves up a messaging SDK and chat API that enable mobile apps and websites to offer chat and messaging features. On the surface, the service seems similar to something like Twilio or MessageBird, which also allow developers to integrate communication features into their own apps; however, those two platforms were built more more on a telephony infrastructure that caters to calls and SMS.
SendBird, on the other hand, is more about internet protocol (IP) messaging, which offers richer functionality, including easier photo sharing, group chats, and more. A more direct competitor to SendBird would be a startup such as Layer, which raised a $15 million round earlier this year and which claims big-name backers such as Salesforce and Microsoft.
SendBird launched in South Korea in 2015, where its main R&D hub remains, though it has since moved its main headquarters to Silicon Valley.
The company graduated from Y Combinator’s winter 2016 class, where it went on to receive around $2.6 million in seed funding from investors such as Twitch cofounder Justin Kan, Lookout cofounder Kevin Mahaffey, Horizon Partners’ Sandy Kory, and Algolia CEO Nicolas Dessaigne. With its first major raise now in the bank, the company said that it plans to expedite its plan to grow its…