AI-powered voice analytics startup Observe.AI has raised $26 million in a Series A funding round led by Scale Venture Partners. The funding arrives just as the company has inked a deal with Microsoft to integrate its technology and analyses to shared customers.
Customer Service Analytics
Observe.AI offers businesses a platform to monitor and analyze customer service phone calls for insights into how to improve the way agents interact with customers. The San Francisco and India-based startup uses its artificial intelligence and speech technology to transcribe all of the conversations between customers and agents and offer coaching and suggestions. Companies like TripAdvisor and ClearMe use Observe.AI to improve how they deal with customer calls.
“Legacy speech analytics systems are simply not meeting the needs of the world’s top brands,” said Observe.AI founder Swapnil Jain in a statement. “Today’s customer service agents have a unique ability to emotionally connect with customers and are often a brand’s only frontline representatives. This investment will fuel our mission to elevate agent performance through AI-based coaching and insights.”
The idea is to use the software to vastly expand how many incoming calls are monitored. According to Observe.AI, the standard is for one or two percent of calls to get monitored by a business, with multiple systems needed to turn the data into something useful. Observe.AI’s platform looks to cover every call that comes in and analyze the data as a whole. Machine learning helps the AI use new data and analyses to adapt and offer better suggestions over time.
Observing Enterprise Analytics Growth
Along with Scale Venture Partners, the latest investment includes funding from Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital, 01 Advisors, and Emergent Ventures. The new funding brings Observe.AI’s total investment to $34 million. The company announced along with the funding that Microsoft’s Azure marketplace will now host its platform, offering the same services to Microsoft customers who are interested in using it. Observe.AI has a history with Microsoft, having been a part of the Microsoft for Start-Up accelerator program. The funding and partnership feed into Observe.AI’s expectation of quadrupling its recurring revenue in 2020.
The startup is not without competition in the space. Fellow Californian startup Gridspace offers its Sift platform for transcribing and examining conversations with customers for useful information in real time. The data collected is then used for longer-term insights as well. Gridspace is also one of the technology providers for leading digital communications platform Twilio’s own real-time call analytics service, Media Streams. Both use language and emotional analysis to understand not just what people are saying, but how they are saying it.
The big difference is that Twilio and Gridspace apply their analytics to automated call systems. The callers speak to a voice AI and real-time analytics is used to adjust the responses to callers based on the AI’s insight. These virtual agents are becoming more popular, with companies like Inference Solutions offering options for call centers to reduce their customer service agent needs. The age of humans answering customer service phone calls is far from over, however. Applying AI and voice tech to improve how well people handle those calls is arguably a much more immediate solution, or at least one that investors are willing to bet on in the case of Observe.AI.