July 2, 2012, 12:01 PM

Live chat vendor Needle raises $10.5 million

The company plans to use the funds to expand its roster of agents.

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Live chat technology provider Needle Inc. has closed a $10.5 million Series B funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $12.5 million. The vendor plans to use the capital to support the company’s growth, including adding more customer service agents. 

Shasta Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners led the funding round.

Needle’s approach to customer service includes working with individual retailers like Skullcandy and Under Armor to find agents from that company’s customer base who can answer shoppers’ questions via online chat. Those agents, who can work from anywhere with an Internet connection, receive an hourly wage, as well as points they can apply toward merchandise.

"Today's buyer expects authenticity and expertise, and passing them off to a person in a contact center who has no genuine experience with the company's products and is using canned answers is the antithesis of that,” says Morgan Lynch, Needle’s founder and CEO. “Shasta and Rembrandt recognize the disruptive role Needle is playing in the e-commerce world and we're looking forward to working with them as we fix real-time shopping interactions online and disrupt the $100 billion global contact center space."

Jim Barnett, a partner at Shasta Ventures, and Douglas Schrier, a partner at Rembrandt Venture Partners, will join Needle's board of directors.

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