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Ovation Raises $1 Million to Help Businesses Fight the Retail Apocalypse

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500 Startups graduate will use growth capital to help restaurants and retailers get 16x more data than receipt surveys and build relationships 18x better than online reviews with real world live chat

PROVO, Utah - EntSun -- Ovation, a relationship enablement platform for restaurants and retailers, announced a round of almost $1 million in seed funding. The total amount raised was led by Monta Vista Capital and includes 500 Startups, Steve Young, and angels from San Francisco, Utah, Boston, and Japan.

Ovation will use the capital for continued growth and improved tools for customer retention and AI. "Utah (Silicon Slopes) is an incredible market to build a global business," says Zack Oates, 3x entrepreneur and Founder & CEO. Oates came up with the idea after being frustrated at the lack of ways to communicate with local businesses while going to 47 countries and on over 1,000 dates.

Ovation recently graduated from the 500 Startups accelerator in San Francisco as part of Batch 24. Over 1,800 tech startups from around the world applied to the program and Ovation was 1 of 20 companies that were accepted. Glen Anderson, a partner at Monta Vista Capital, said "We invest in very few companies outside the San Francisco Bay Area—but Ovation has the combination of focused product, huge market, product-market fit, customer traction, and energetic team to get us excited about leading this round."

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While online businesses easily pixel happy customers to bring them back and have live chat to engage with dissatisfied customers, restaurants and retailers are struggling to keep up. Ovation is a "game changer," touts an online review from one of their 300+ customers. Ovation collects customer information and measures experience in the moment through simple survey tools. Then happy customers are asked to share their experience and come back while unhappy customers start an instant SMS chat with management. Unlike other services, customers don't have to download an app, create an account, or type in a code from a paper receipt. It is simple to use and easy to manage. Benefits of Ovation include:
  • 5-10x more online reviews
  • 18x higher engagement than negative online reviews
  • 16x more data collected than receipt surveys
With minimum wage increasing, retailers like Payless shutting down, and restaurants struggling to grow, experts have recommended that the best way to survive the retail apocalypse is to enhance the experience with technology and create a great reputation. "Businesses of the future will be around in the future because they have built relationships with their customers—and that is what our technology enables," says Scott Weinert, who built a previous startup with Oates and is a Founder and CTO.

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"This not only brings my loyal customers back, but new ones to grow my business. Ovation is so mission critical to the success of my business," says Scott Porter, one of the first Ovation customers and founder of San Diablo Churros, which has seen tremendous growth in a stagnant market, thanks to Ovation.

"This funding allows us to become the most effective and affordable way for businesses to build meaningful relationships with their customers and thrive during this retail apocalypse," says Oates.

Zack Oates, Founder & CEO

Source: Ovation
Filed Under: Technology, Retail

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