The pandemic has been accompanied by an increase in work-from-home and hybrid working, which has increased people’s reliance on personal devices – prompting businesses to adapt and encourage their use. It was a unique challenge for the financial services industry, which has relatively strict governance and compliance requirements. In September, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined Wall Street banks including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs $1.8 billion for monitoring how employees use their personal phones to talk about work.
In search of a solution to the chat compliance problem, three entrepreneurs – Dima Gutzet, Avi Pardo and Rina Charles – decided to create their own LeapXpert. LeapXpert allows employees to monitor and archive their business conversations and send them to clients or colleagues through popular applications including WhatsApp, WeChat, iMessage, Telegram and Signal.
“My co-founders and I were concerned that there could be huge negative implications if businesses didn’t evolve quickly to adopt modern messaging applications and transform this growing shadow communication into an acceptable and reliable means of business communication,” Gutzit told TechCrunch. Email interview. “And so, LeapXpert was founded on a mission to help companies seize the opportunity to transform business relationships.”
Employees may find the idea of an app that records their conversations confusing — and rightfully so. When asked about privacy, Gutzeit said that LeapXpert can keep a “complete record” of all conversations between company employees and third parties, but that LeapXpert itself should not have access to the data.
“As with regulatory audit cases, when regulators go directly to a financial institution, law enforcement agencies may request information directly from our clients,” Gutzitt explained. “From now on, it’s up to our customers to decide how much data they want to extract from their archive systems and give to the authorities. We are not a party to this type of transaction.
To be fair it is a trend. Even before the pandemic, workplace chat monitoring was becoming more common than ever. In the year A 2019 survey by GetUp found that only 10% of managers considered recording employee chats an invasion of privacy, while 47% admitted to monitoring conversations on a daily or weekly basis.
Surprisingly, employees are not very happy about this. In the year In a 2022 study, the Harvard Business Review found that tracking employees makes them right. More Rules are bound to be broken. And incidentally, tracking leads to mission slippage. Goldman Sachs once used a monitoring system to automatically scan 180 different phrases in employee communications at the pointer’s command: “Answer your phone,” “Don’t worry, I’ll do it,” and “I’ll do it,” and “I don’t understand.”
But given its high stakes in the financial industry, the SEC has made it clear that it views private, unmonitored bankers’ writings as a barrier to investigations, less likely to challenge employers. Look at Deutsche Bank, which last June forced bank employees to install a contact-tracking app called Movius on their phones.
“Controlling messaging channels used for business communication is critical for technical decision makers,” said Gutzit. “Until now, our unique value has been building pipelines for better communication.”
While that’s up for debate, LeapXpert offers employee monitoring, a “mobile-first” dashboard where employees can access chat channels such as SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, Signal, Line, and certain VoIP apps. On the employer’s side, companies sSee real-time status of incoming and outgoing material types and standards, rules and requirements, including specific keywords and phrases.
LeapXpert promises to avoid capturing personal and private messages by allowing employees to have free messaging for personal use. TechCrunch wasn’t able to test this, though, so we can’t say how well it works in practice. We also can’t say whether an employer can bypass this — a legitimate fear for surveillance-wary employees.
In terms of competition, LeapXpert faces an uphill battle. There are other platforms like it, including Symphony, TeleMessage, and VoxSmart. But Gutzit argues, rightly or wrongly, that Leap Expert is more comprehensive in its data capture than most.
We have added dozens of integrations with other technology solutions providers. It has further compressed the platform and enabled new use cases for new markets,” he said.
Anyway, LeapXpert had no trouble attracting customers — or investors, for that matter. Gutzit said that the company counts among its customers “dozens” of financial institutions, as well as “dozens” of enterprises in other fixed markets, which have tens of thousands of users on the platform.
“Customers tell us our product is a ‘must have’ that is ‘fun to live with,'” Gutzeit said. “The economic and technological slowdown has not affected our business.”
To that end, LeapXpert this week closed a $22 million Series A funding round led by Rockefeller Asset Management with participation from Uncorrelated Ventures, Partnership Fund for New York City and other undisclosed existing investors. It brought the company’s total raised to $22 million, and Gutzit said Leap Expert is working to grow its 150-person workforce, expand into new markets and invest in product development.
With the cash infusion, LeapXpert also plans to launch a software-as-a-service version aimed at small and medium-sized business customers. Currently, LeapXpert only comes in on-premise and self-managed cloud flavors.
“The latest round gives us more stability and comfort in these times and allows us to maintain and even accelerate our growth trajectory.”
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