The story of how we got here, the team leading the way and why we believe this is important.Start For Free
Successful companies in competitive spaces require differentiation and greatness – the unique ability to deliver more than the competitors around you. A combination of keen observation and research, gut instinct, grit, dedication, and strategic thinking goes into designing and engineering great products that deliver lasting and exponential value to their end-users. The messaging space is no different. The exciting part is that it’s still new, it’s still growing, and it’s huge. Our founders’ and leadership team’s collective experience is a big reason why we think we will win.
Andy Weeks is the principal founder at Rake. He and the leadership team and co-founders of Rake have collectively founded or held key leadership roles at growth companies in their careers. Weeks’ first company, EZLinks, was founded in 1995. He, like many other founders’ stories from that time, recognized an opportunity with the dawn of the internet to digitize an archaic industry. Andy chose the golf industry, both out of a passion for the game and the sizable opportunity it represented. However, digitizing tee times was a radical shift. Weeks’ dedicated nature and leadership kept him in the project and the company afloat. It took the education of an industry and a revolutionary barter-based business model for real growth to occur. Today, EZLinks is the recognized leader in the space, a preferred vendor for 18 of the top-20 golf course management companies worldwide. EZLinks recently sold to Comcast/NBCUniversal for a nine-digit sale price.
After exiting EZLinks in 2006, Weeks turned toward the clear opportunity to service reservation calls on behalf of golf courses. W5 Golf, Inc. was incorporated and introduced revolutionary technology to connect tee time inventory from disparate vendors and systems, standardize it for visual consistency and conversational flow, and use it in a contact center environment. Rake co-founder Mike Brown was an early employee at EZLinks and led the product management efforts there for 10+ years. He rejoined Weeks in 2013 at W5. In 2016, they were approached by their largest client and asked if they could service website visitor chats through the W5 contact center. It was a natural fit and the team jumped at the opportunity. Web visitor chat was an instant success and opened their eyes to the value of business messaging.
Shortly after the launch of web visitor chat for W5, the same large client wanted to add Facebook Messenger and SMS messaging. They wanted omnichannel messaging - and this is where Rake as we know it was born. Integrating chat and messaging across multi-workspace environments and across multiple messaging platforms created many challenges. After significant research and testing, W5 determined it was a problem for which the market did not have a viable and cost-effective solution.
Frustrated with the market offerings, the founders set out to resolve this problem on their own. They found a great engineering partner based in Lviv, Ukraine. The team doubled down on engineering and design, focused on an infrastructure that would maintain simple administrative control, flexibility for individuality, and consistency of conversation flows to deliver outstanding user experiences across a spectrum of messaging platforms. In 2018, they released the core service workers that would later become Rake. Shortly after, they added an admin web console to administer the workspaces and platform connections. The “Rake” worker functioned so well they felt strongly about the opportunity to move into a broader arena and step outside of just using it for W5 operations.
In mid 2018, Rake LLC was founded and the intellectual property was transferred from W5 to Rake. Rake began to build the user-facing apps and a mobile app that included all the tools contact center agents used to support chat and messaging at W5. It is important to note they realized early on that Rake needed to include both external chats and internal messaging. The agents and the entire W5 Golf team were Slack users at the time and, while they appreciated the advantages of collaborating in the new Slack app, they were aware of the operation issues of using multiple apps for internal and customer messaging.
Rake is truly a remote workforce– growing up in the pandemic forced us into this. The team has been able to embrace it and thrive due to our connected culture, primarily through using Rake ourselves. Our CRO. Mike Hendrix, is in Columbus, our CTO, Jim Wood, is in Denver, and our main engineering teams including lead developers Mykola Yakovliev and Oleh Buhienko are based in Lviv.
Today, the Rake founders and leadership team are laser-focused on migrating from a chat application to a messaging platform, improving the developer’s APIs, SDKs, and filling the gaps in our MVP, while creating valuable new tools like Universal Channel that utilize the unique omnichannel-first conversation architecture. We look forward to the future of messaging and we hope you will join us on this journey.
the only messaging-as-a-platform company that universally connects internal and external stakeholders for all types of organizations in an era in which messaging is increasingly the preferred form of communication.
is to help organizations around the world improve their internal and external connectivity through the most effective and scalable messaging platform in the world.
Rake helps ensure all of your stakeholders are connected without ever limiting your message storage
adding robust digital messaging, connecting people-to-people, people-to-machine, and machine-to-machine is the most important advancement an organization can make today. A scalable messaging platform enables improved efficiency, more sales success and a deeper understanding of the customer
All messages are available for eternity for all users regardless of free or paid plan status
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We've built big, successful companies and along the way created thousands of jobs, and helped people and organizations grow. We're starting again and we couldn't be more excited.