Photograph by Scott Eells — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Heather Clancy
April 15, 2016

Could your call center or online support forum handle an unusual onslaught of inquiries or feedback?

Australian-born business software company Cyara, which recently scored a $25 million Series A round of venture funding lead by PeakSpan Capital and Greenspring Associates, is building a business out of answering that question. Its speciality: testing the reliability and performance of customer service technologies.

Over the past decade, it has signed up 500-plus customers, including British banking giant Barclays (bcs) and telecommunications company Sky. The funds, which represent Cyara’s first outside backing, will be used to scale its engineering operations and international sales presence, according to Cyara co-founder and CEO Alok Kulkarni. The company currently employs 125 people globally.

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Cyara’s technology field-tests processes and interfaces for call centers, online chat systems, and other digital support channels before they become broadly available. That’s a step some companies overlook until their systems are overloaded with calls or requests they can’t handle fast enough, a phenomenon that can become a public relations nightmare.

“This is akin to building a highway infrastructure with rest stops, signage, etc. without testing whether it will be adequate to meet demand, releasing traffic into the mix, and then seeing what happens,” said PeakSpan co-founder Phil Dur.

Cyara is part of the broader “customer experience management” category of software. That phrase covers everything from call center infrastructure to chat bots to tools for managing social media dialogues. Dur projects that the overall market will grow to around $10 billion by 2020.

Other software companies that specialize in testing include Empirix, closely allied with call center giant Avaya; and Nu Echo, which counts Google among its big customers.

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