LivePerson `Off to the Races,' CEO Says, With Stock Sizzling

(Bloomberg) -- LivePerson Inc., a tech company with roots in web chat for customer service, is trading near the highest levels in more than five years after delivering 14 percent annual revenue growth for the first quarter and earnings that beat analyst estimates.

Chief Executive Officer Robert LoCascio believes the company’s next phase of evolution is just getting started. After spending the past year migrating customers to a new communication service called LiveEngage that allows people to exchange messages directly with businesses through apps and texting, New York-based LivePerson is now “off to the races,” LoCascio said.

“We want to make it that every brand in the world can be like Alexa,” the digital assistant from Inc., LoCascio said in an interview. “Every brand can have a conversation with their consumers.”

That mission may be helped by LivePerson’s new global chief technology officer, Alex Spinelli, who joined the company in March and previously served as Amazon’s global head of Alexa. With close to $58 million in cash on hand, LoCascio said LivePerson is investing in people as well as in artificial intelligence and marketing.

LivePerson has gained about 56 percent so far this year as of Friday, including an 8.4 percent jump on Friday after earnings. The stock has seven buy ratings, one hold and no sells, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts on average see 15 percent return potential for the stock over the next 12 months.

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