Varolii, which helps airlines, utilities, banks and other companies send automated alerts to customers, has raised $8 million and named Seattle venture capitalist Bill Bryant and former FileNet CEO Lee Roberts to the board.

The company’s existing investors — including BlueRun Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Institutional Venture Partners and InterWest Partners — participated in the round.

Varolii isn’t your typical startup company. It was founded in 2000, employs 230 people and actually filed to go public in 2007. It later canceled that attempt and then went through a series of painful layoffs in 2009 and 2010.

DFJ’s Bryant, who replaces Raj Atluru, who had been on the board since its formation and recently left DFJ, tells GeekWire that he’s excited about the company’s prospects.

“They’ve managed to secure over 400 large accounts; as a result they are a leading player in personalized, automated multi channel (voice, email, text) communications for customers and employees,” said Bryant. “Yet they have only a small percent of a multi billion market.”

The investment will allow Varolii to expand its product roadmap and eye possible acquisitions.

Dave McCann

“We raised this round in order to accelerate our R&D innovation for smartphone  and inbound call center automation capabilities,” explains CEO Dave McCann, a former Microsoft manager who took over the helm earlier this year. “This funding allows us to deliver on the innovations that our major customers  are looking for more quickly.”

McCann said that they plan to expand the VaroliiInteract applications to Android and iPhone and expand capabilities to remove costs from the 5,000 large enterprise customer service centers.

“An estimated 6 million Americans work in U.S. Call centers, and as companies drive for profitability in today’s economy, they want continued evolution of customer self-service to free agents up for more complex and lengthy conversations,” McCann said.

In addition to Bryant, Varolii also named former FileNet CEO Lee Roberts to the board. McCann previously served as senior vice president of products and strategy at FileNet.

Total funding in the company now stands at $40 million, and Varolii plans to add about a dozen workers to its R&D team as a result of the new financing, McCann said. Customers using Varolii’s automated alerts include Alaska Airlines, Puget Sound Energy, SunTrust and Time Warner Cable.

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