Aircall raises another $29 million

French startup Aircall has raised a funding round of $29 million for its cloud based call center solution. Draper Esprit led the round with NextWorld Capital, Balderton Capital and Newfund also participating.

The company has raised $40.5 million in total. Aircall participated in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt SF a few years ago. The company first started at eFounders.

Aircall is following the software-as-a-service playbook. First, you take a boring industry like phone systems for large support and sales teams. Second, you bet everything on software. And third, you keep adding new features and integrations, and chasing new customers.

The company now has two offices in New York and Paris and handles millions of calls every day. With today’s funding round, the company plans to hire more people in both offices.

When you sign up to Aircall, you get virtual phone numbers in one or multiple countries. You can then configure a greeting message, add business hours and handle your call queue.

But the magic happens when you have multiple people handling sales or support calls. When someone calls, it can ring multiple people at once or someone specific first, then a second person if the first person isn’t available, etc. You get an overview of all your calls so you can assign them, tag them and more.

Aircall doesn’t work in a vacuum. So you can integrate Aircall with CRMs and other solutions like Salesforce, Zendesk and Zoho. The startup also launched a deep integration with Intercom that lets you switch from a text conversation to a phone call from the popup window.

It’s hard to list all the features right here. But chances are that if you’re running a call center, you’ll have everything you need for your team. Aircall currently costs $30 to $50 per user and per month to access all of this.

What’s Trump’s Real Trade Target: China Or Europe?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Do Trump’s endless trade volleys and sanctions have a clear target? Consider the possibility it’s the EU, not China.

Out of the blue, and with open rebuke form Democrats and Republicans, Trump reversed sanctions on China.

This was peculiar in and of itself, but his rationale raised more than a few eyebrows.

All of a sudden. Trump is concerned about “too many jobs lost in China”!

One can rationalize this is about Rotting Cherries, Spoiled Pork, and Car Inspections, but could it be there is more than meets the eye?

Iran Sanctions

Bloomberg reports Iran’s Door to the West Is Slamming Shut, and That Leaves China.

China is “already the winner,’’ said Dina Esfandiary, a fellow at the Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College in London, and co-author of the forthcoming ‘Triple Axis: Iran’s Relations With Russia and China’.

Turning East

EU Disharmony

CNBC says Trump’s Iran sanctions will aggravate the French-German discord on EU reforms.

5,000 German Corporations Hit By Trump Policy

One can rationalize this all away, but a translation from Spiegel Online underscores the key idea: Trump’s Policies Hit Nearly 5,000 German Companies.

Sanctions on Europe. Not Iran

Eurointelligence fills in some blanks.

Over the last three days it gradually dawned on the Germans that Donald Trump’s sanctions against Iran are in reality sanctions against Europe, and Germany in particular. The combination of third-party sanctions and changes to US tax laws has led to a situation where a large number of German companies now have an overwhelming interest to shift their business to the US, according to Spiegel Online.

FAZ notes that the helplessness of the German government is becoming increasingly evident, both economically and politically. The paper notes that even Angela Merkel is casting doubt on whether it is possible to maintain the Iran nuclear agreement after Trump’s decision.

Goodbye Europe

The cover of Der Spiegel this week this week, “Goodbye Europe” says it all.

Politico reports Europe’s ultimate Trump strategy: Appeasement.

Intent or Collateral Damage?

China responded to Trump tariffs by inspecting fruit to the point it rotted, pork until it spoiled, and Ford autos in such a manner that it required disassembly. Trump changed tactics.

It’s easy to make a case that the only thing Trump understands is force.

It’s also possible Trump is totally clueless and he is ruled only by spur of the moment decisions.

Finally, one can make a case that Trump’s true intent all along was to bust up EU solidarity and everything else is just a sideshow.

It’s easy to make that case even though Occam’s Razor suggests the alternatives are more likely.

Regardless, the EU’s roll over and play dead response to the sanctions is a sure loser for the EU and a sure winner for China.

Ball in Play

EU, the ball is in your court.

Last week Merkel stated it’s time for “Europe to take its destiny into its own hands.”

OK – Do it!

Staring at the ball as it rolls over you does not win points.