Aisera, a Palo Alto California AI startup company that provides virtual assistants and customer service solutions to businesses, has raised $40 million in series C funding from investors. With a base of 65 million users, the company has already signed up multiple business users such as 8x8 (a telecom business), Autodesk, McAfee (an anti-virus business), and Zoom.
Aisera uses AI (artificial intelligence) assistants to handle IT (internet technology) service requests, customer service tickets, and more. To speed up adoption, Aisera has built integrations with Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Zoom. Last year, Forbes recognized the startup on its Forbes AI 50 list along with Abnormal Security (cybersecurity company focused on email), Anyscale (a software development business), and DeepMap (a business that produces maps for autonomous cars).
A Closer Look at the Investors Behind Aisera
AI is hot, and investors are keen to invest in companies that offer the technology. So far, Aisera has landed funding from Icon Ventures, True Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, First Round Capital, and Webb Investment Network.
“Aisera's Conversational AI improves productivity, enables self-service resolutions, and drastically reduces service desk and operations costs,” Preeti Rathi, general partner at Icon Ventures, said about the company. Rathi has joined the Aisera board of directors. Icon Ventures, based in Palo Alto, has a long history of investing in successful companies. Past successful investments include Palo Alto Networks (stock ticker: PANW (NYSE), Clicker (a company acquired by CBS Interactive), and DATAllegro (a company acquired by Microsoft).
In total, Aisera has raised $74.5 million in funding from investors. The virtual assistance company raised its first investment round of $14 million in January 2019, according to Crunchbase.
How Dartmouth College Saved $1 Million With Aisera
With 6,500 students and more than 3,000 staff and faculty, Dartmouth College has a large user base to satisfy. The college had long wait times to respond to IT service requests, with an average of 4,000 tickets created each month. By using Aisera, Dartmouth was able to resolve many tickets in less than 60 seconds. The college achieved cost savings of $1 million in service desk costs by using Aisera technology.
Improving Customer Service Productivity at 8x8
Aisera AI is also helping business users achieve greater productivity. 8x8, a cloud communications company, uses Aisera to enhance customer service. Through Aisera’s product, 8x8 has been able to resolve 90% of customer requests on the first call. Furthermore, 8x8 has improved its customer self-service capabilities so that calls to customer service are down by 60%.
Resolving complaints and service needs on the first call is a critical performance indicator in customer service. According to data reported by RingCentral, the global average first call resolution rate is 70%, so Aisera technology helped 8x8 outperform the average considerably.
Conversational AI Is Worth $13 Billion
Beyond Aisera, several companies are working on building services like chatbots to automate customer service, marketing, and related business tasks. Markets and Markets research estimates that the global conversational AI industry will grow from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $13 billion by 2025. While the field is growing, accuracy remains a significant business problem. If customers do not receive accurate or relevant questions to their questions, they will refuse to use AI services. Key business players in the conversational AI market include Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Oracle, IBM, and SAP.
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.