From email support to tickets and online chat, James McCarthy’s first tech business Spidertracks had a number of tools in places for people to self-serve queries on their website. But with many of them based in different time zones around the world (and customers who were primarily an older generation), they actually preferred to talk to someone on the phone.

“It was more about wanting to build a relationship, and that’s hard to do with a chatbot.”

And it was this lesson from McCarthy’s previous startup that the idea for Cradle began to take shape. Then there were a few shifts in direction to land where they are now – an integrated phone system for one of the world’s leading CRM systems, HubSpot.

“Cradle captures every possible detail about each and every phone call and then logs it into the HubSpot platform. From sales deals to transcribing the content of the conversation, it’s automatically loaded in the CRM and available for use by everyone in the business,” says McCarthy.

“Our goal was to make the phone call a part of the modern toolkit of software and systems that businesses use today. We have certainly achieved that, and continue to build on what we have created.”

What’s surprising is that while many may assume that phone calls are a ‘dying art’ in the world of B2B (business to business) transactions, they are actually anything but. However, it’s the intangible tracking of phone calls that provided Cradle with an opportunity to provide a valuable solution for businesses.

“At every discovery meeting we will ask our prospects how many calls their team makes on a daily basis. And you’re always met with blank stares – they have no idea how much time their team spends on the phone. But if you ask them about how many EDMs they send a month, open rates, conversions to sales from digital advertising, that’s a different story,” explains McCarthy.

“So what we’re offering is a complete set of data for how a business is communicating with their customer, giving leaders all the right information for better decision-making with a centralised and stored, single source of truth.”

McCarthy also recalls many instances of people tiring of emails as the main form of communication. He says people do actually still like talking to each other (during the COVID lockdown, the average call duration went up by 40%), and if it means that ten emails could actually be sorted in the space of a quick phone – there’s immense value in that.

Like most tech startups, there’s a variety of elements that have enabled Cradle to form its foundation and secure significant growth over the past three years. As a place to base his business, McCarthy found the ideal space at GridAKL, a co-working space in downtown Auckland City.

“When we were looking for a co-working space, we compared quite a few of them. And GridAKL just ticked all the boxes for us – that it was a good location handy to transport, the culture is great and is constantly nurtured by a passionate team, and the IT team are also based on-site so are able to help almost instantly with troubleshooting.”

Flexibility has also been key, especially with the fluctuation of physical workplaces being off-limits for periods of time during the pandemic. McCarthy has a number of staff who have chosen to stay remote, but he prefers a hybrid approach as he enjoys regularly meeting up with a group of other founders in the building, who he says feel like peers rather than just another business that uses the space too.

GridAKL John Lysaght Building – coworking space in Pakenham St Auckland. The space has a relaxed vibe and welcomes four-legged, furry friends!

“It is an environment of people and physical space that supports you and offers the scope to scale when you need to.”

Then of course there is the crucial technology, in the form of business grade fibre optic internet connectivity, which not only allows Cradle to function in the way it needs to, but also offers huge customer potential for the business.

“Our entire product is dependent on fibre. We need internet that is reliable with consistently low latency to ensure that all the information (with the amount of data that is required) can be delivered promptly,” explains McCarthy.

“Thankfully the rollout by Chorus over the last three to four years has meant nearly every business in New Zealand has access to fibre – so we are able to serve those businesses with our integrated software.”

So what does the future hold for Cradle? While the business is doing well in New Zealand, Australia and even further afield in Denmark, there’s plenty of opportunity for worldwide expansion – as every HubSpot customer is able to integrate Cradle through the platform’s marketplace.

“We have got a great product and I am proud of what we have built. Now we have to make the most of the opportunity to market throughout the HubSpot ecosystem of marketing and implementation agencies, illustrating the way we are able to solve the challenges that businesses face when it comes to B2B calls.”


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