April 09, 2021 at 06:29PM

Community, the text messaging platform that lets brands and celebrities message consumers and fans, has raised $40 million in investments from Salesforce, the company announced on Friday (April 9). This new round of funding brings the total amount raised to $90 million, with investments coming from companies such as Live Nation, Twilio, Sound Ventures and the Sony Innovation Fund.

Based in Los Angeles, Community lets businesses and individuals send group or one-to-one text messages to customers who sign up using their phone numbers. Since launching in 2019, more than three billion text messages have been exchanged between its “Leaders” — which include brands, businesses, musicians, pop culture figures, politicians and other high-profile people — and Community’s 26 million-plus members. Notable Community Leaders include Jennifer Lopez, actor Kerry Washington and NFL superstar Tom Brady, along with brands such as People magazine and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Messaging is the most direct and personal channel there is, and there’s a lot of value in that,” Matthew Peltier, founder and chief executive of Community, said in a Wall Street Journal interview. “On social media, you don’t own that relationship. You are limited by the algorithms and short attention spans, and you’re competing in feeds where there is a lot of noise.”

According to Community’s announcement, the platform records 60 percent click-through rates when Leaders send messages and open rates of 95 percent, suggesting “a new trend creating conversations at scale in a more personalized and direct manner.” As a result, the Leaders enjoy sales, revenue growth and interaction without a slowdown of communication due to algorithms or “the impersonal nature of shortcode texts.”

It’s not just high-profile brands and Superbowl champions using text to communicate with their followers. In an interview with PYMNTS last year, Chase Petrey of the customer messaging platform Podium spoke of “an expectation and a growing demand that consumers will be able to message with a local business.”

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