Agara’s Investors Are Impressed With the Voice AI Business
Some areas of AI, like processing text and images, are relatively well established. In contrast, processing speech and responding in kind is an emerging area. “As a deep-tech fund, UTEC was impressed with Agara’s autonomous Voice AI agent powered by voice-first Applied ML algorithms and real-world data," Kiran Mysore, Principal at UTEC told Analytics India Mag.
UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital) led the $4 million seed investment round. The Japanese investor was joined by RTP Global and Blume Ventures. RTP is a venture capital investor based in London that has invested in more than one hundred startup businesses. Based in India, Blume Ventures has invested in a variety of consumer and business startups such as Runnr (logistics), Chillr (money transfer), and FastFox (home rentals network).
The Startup Has Handled Over a Million Calls
The voice AI startup company’s product has already found some traction in the market. “Last year, we processed over a million calls and a million emails in 12 countries across every continent in 4 languages. With the new surge in demand, we are confident of increasing this number to over 5 million calls,” Abhimanyu, co-founder and CEO of Agara, told Analytics India Mag.
The pandemic has increased pressure on customer support departments. As of November 2020, about 25% fewer call center agents answered calls, according to the Los Angeles Times. Simultaneously, many consumers had few alternatives to calling because many companies closed or restricted access to their business locations as the pandemic raged. In other countries like India and the Philippines, entire call centers were closed for part of 2020.
Procter & Gamble Boosts Customer Service With Agara
Agara’s AI customer support technology has already been adopted by P&G (stock ticker: NYSE: PG). The consumer products giant has improved its customer care efficiency by 30% thanks to Agara. Specifically, P&G reduced the average case handling time by three minutes. Multiplied across many customer interactions in the United States (US) and other countries, P&G can serve more customers with the same support resources.
How Agara’s Business Competes With Google
While voice AI is a newer technology, other companies are working on the problem. Google's Dialogflow, launched in December 2020, takes a different approach. Google's technology is designed to function more as a general-purpose speech recognition engine. Integrated into Google Cloud, Dialogflow already has several large businesses as customers such as KLM (a Dutch airline, OTCMKTS: KLMR), Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), and Ticketmaster. Agara’s advantage has the advantage of specialization in voice AI conversation.
Google might choose to buy Agara rather than compete. According to Information Age, Google has acquired thirty AI startup companies.
About the Author
Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.