Liveoak Technologies’ Virtual Nature Helps it Thrive During a Pandemic
Originally published @ American Inno on 4/20/20.
As other companies face laying off or furloughing employees, Liveoak Technologies is looking to potentially double its workforce this year.
That’s because the Austin-based company’s product — a secure virtual business platform — is exactly what its customer base needs during the coronavirus shutdown.
Liveoak serves the wealth management, retirement, banking and insurance industries and developed a virtual conference room where people can conduct financial business as if they were sitting across from their adviser, lender or insurance agent.
“Bank-grade collaboration platform, not consumer-grade conferencing,” its website touts.
The platform allows customers to meet virtually with a financial adviser, for example, to discuss options and sign documents.
“Basically, we built an enterprise tech platform that makes it easy for regulated industries to engage with their customers, collaborate and do transactions,” said Tim Ramza, CEO of the four-year-old company. “We audit everything that happens inside this conference room, so it’s a very secure platform.”
Now, with most of the country shut down, Liveoak is helping people get back to work.
“Early on when this was happening, we were trying to figure out what our tone and ethos would be,” Ramza said of the public health crisis. “Part of our mission turned into ‘let’s apply our platform and get people back to work.’ ”
Business has been brisk, so much so that Liveoak, with a staff of about 20, likely will bring on 10 to 20 more people this year, starting with five to seven positions.
“We’re in sort of the Q1, early Q2 part of our hiring,” Ramza said. “We’re learning how to hire using our own tools to onboard remotely.”
Charlie Plauche, a partner at S3 Ventures, which led Liveoak’s $8 million round of funding in June, said Liveoak has seen a “massive uptick in inbound interest. Everybody that was slightly interested before has turned into ‘How quickly can we get this live?’ ”
Plauche also serves on Liveoak’s board. Other companies that participated in the Series A financing last year were Seven Peaks Ventures, Wild Basin Investments, State Farm Ventures, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures and Broadhaven Capital Partners. Tom Gonser, founder of DocuSign and a partner at Seven Peaks, serves on the Liveoak board.
Ramza is reticent to discuss who Liveoak’s biggest clients are, but customers include Northwestern Mutual, Barclays and John Hancock.
“All of our clients have shut down 95 percent of their offices,” Ramza said.
But using Liveoak’s enterprise cloud platform, financial advisers and others still can conduct business.
“The future of work is changing. This mass experiment was thrust upon the world. You would have never gotten this test. People will be doing case studies about this for years to come,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to help people in these times to get back to business.”
Next up for Liveoak: remote notary services.