By Ari Rabinovitch
RAANANA Israel (Reuters) - Chat software provider LivePerson expects major growth to follow the launch of its new platform that allows businesses to engage online customers more effectively.
With transactions increasingly taking place on computers and mobile devices, retailers and banks are pouring resources into finding ways to make that experience as simple and easy as possible.
"It's a digital tsunami," said Eran Vanounou, chief executive of LivePerson Israel. "The big brands understand this big time. They understand they have to create a meaningful connection with consumers, not just a transaction."
LivePerson, whose 8,000 plus clients include Bank of America and Home Depot, is headquartered in New York, though most operations are handled in Israel.
Its product, among other things, allows businesses to chat with customers and put together online campaigns. It also helps businesses "learn the behavior of online surfers", Vanounou said, allowing them to better cater to their needs.
The company just finished four years of consecutive quarterly growth, he said. It posted second quarter revenue of $51.1 million, up from $43.2 million a year earlier. It also increased its 2014 outlook to $204-$207 million, from a previous $199-$204 million.
It had a $1.2 million quarterly net loss, compared to $1.8 million in 2013, which Vanounou said stemmed from a $50 million investment in an upgraded, browser-based platform the company is now launching.
"What you saw over the past year and a half, when our stock was up, down and again up now, although the company grew, it took and invested the money in building this platform. A huge investment," he said.
Shares on Nasdaq hit a year high of $15.24 in January and fell to a low of $8.84 in June. They closed at $12.97 on Friday.
"This is very significant for companies, because companies don't have to install applications and securities, this is something that runs on their browsers," the CEO said.
Vanounou expects 2015 to be a "break-out year", with old clients moving to the new platform and new clients jumping aboard.
"We expect to see growth and momentum continue," he said.
(Editing by Tova Cohen)