Note: This article is part of a series providing updates from companies that received an EDTIF tax credit. GOED has an ongoing partnership, through a post-performance incentive, with the company. The story is the company’s narrative and may not reflect the methodology of standardized legislative reporting requirements published in the GOED Annual Report. GOED does not certify or independently verify any company’s data as part of this ‘Where are they now?’ series.

In 2014, Eric Rea, the co-founder and CEO of Podium, a customer messaging and payments platform, got a frustrated call from his dad. His dad’s tire shop had plenty of happy customers, but only a handful of angry ones were leaving reviews. Rea was determined to build a product that made getting more reviews easy as sending a text message.

He set out to solve the same problem for local businesses everywhere and realized that messaging with customers wasn’t just the better way to get reviews; it’s the better way to do business.

Podium built a multi-product platform that is modernizing the way local businesses get work done. Podium currently serves more than 90,000 local businesses in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Simply put, Podium enables companies with a local presence to conveniently connect with their customers at critical touchpoints to help them strengthen their business. It does this by conveniently facilitating millions of customer interactions, such as driving customer-generated online reviews and providing improved customer messaging tools. 

Since the beginning of COVID-19, the company questioned how the coronavirus pandemic would impact its business model. Podium faced several unanswered questions, such as how would consumers react and spend their money during the pandemic? Would they continue to go to their local auto shop? And, how would repairs at home get done?

Fortunately for Podium and its customers, its products enabled customers to continue communicating with consumers in a technology-driven world. More businesses could contact consumers via text and tell them about their latest COVID-19 safety guidelines and preventive measures.

Businesses could communicate with customers and meet their needs, whether it was purchasing a car, scheduling an oil change with their local mechanic, or a host of other activities, through a text conversation. People across the country are taking advantage of Podium’s technology for many purposes, such as texting their favorite restaurants for mobile pick-up orders, checking in by text message at their physician’s office, and scheduling a hair appointment with their stylist with one quick text. 

“The interesting part is how this has all come together right now,” said Rea. “For the past five years, we have had to pull local businesses into the future and convince them it was the better way to do business. Now with COVID-19, texting has proven to be a potent tool to keep businesses operating.”

Rea also notes that messaging has become the safest way to balance doing business with social distancing. The company sees texting as a critical tool for local businesses in the recovery, with day-after-day of record-breaking message volume going through its platform. To help more businesses, Podium recently released a package to help companies get started for free. Details about this package are found here.

The coronavirus pandemic brought transformative changes to digitize local businesses and improve communication. Now more than ever, consumers want convenient ways to support their local businesses while feeling safe, heard, and valued. Podium provides businesses with the tools needed to succeed in the competitive marketplace.

Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, and founded in 2014, Podium is backed by YC Continuity, Sapphire Ventures, Alkeon Capital, Recruit Co. Ltd., IVP, Accel, Summit Partners, and GV. To learn more, visit podium.com or email press@podium.com.

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