Contact Center AI Startup Observe.AI Raises US$54M Series B

Observe.AI was accepted into the Microsoft for Startups program last year and has raised US$88 million to date

U.S.- and India-based startup Observe.AI, which builds artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions for call centers, has raised US$54 million in a Series B round of financing led by Menlo Ventures, the startup announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The round saw participation from Next47 Ventures and NGP capital, the startup said in the statement. Partner at Menlo Ventures Steve Sloane will join Observe.AI’s Board of Directors as part of the deal, it added.

Observe.AI had previously raised $26 million in December 2019 from a host of investors including Scale Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and Steadview Capital, among others.

With the latest capital injection, the startup’s total funding reaches $88 million, of which $80 million was raised in the last 12 months alone, the statement noted.

The startup, whose AI platform transcribes customer service calls at contact centers to help provide coaching and improve customer support quality, aims to use the fresh funds to expand its go-to market strategy, and to also invest in research and development to add new capabilities in the areas of real-time coaching, omni-channel support, and interaction analytics, the statement noted.

Looking at the future, Jain wrote on the company blog that Observe.AI aims to be faster, more accurate, and more human in its approach to contact center transformation.

According to the blog post, the startup is also doubling down on one-click integrations with key partners like Talkdesk and Genesys, which is deployable in two to four weeks in an industry where AI and speech solution integrations usually take months.

Additionally, the startup is working on deepening its automated redaction capabilities which hides sensitive customer data provided on calls in the transcripts to ensure regulatory compliance, Jain noted in the blog post.

The press statement noted that Observe.AI is also accelerating the development of its Contact Center AI Platform with Microsoft Azure AI and Azure Cognitive Services, to help joint customers enable frontline contact center agents deliver more meaningful customer experiences.

The startup was accepted into the Microsoft for Startups Program last year, allowing Observe.AI to offer its platform to Microsoft customers through the Azure marketplace.

Founded in 2017, Observe.AI leverages AI, speech and natural language processing, and deep learning technologies to help brands accurately transcribe and analyze customer service calls received at contact centers, in order to improve customer service quality and help provide coaching to call center agents, the statement noted.

According to the startup, contact centers typically analyze 1-2% of calls by manually listening to them to ensure compliance with regulatory norms and monitor quality of customer service, leaving little time for coaching new agents or to celebrate exceptional performance.

Observe.AI‘s support platform analyzes 100% of customer conversations, which helps automate parts of the quality assurance and compliance tracking processes, and indicates unmet customer needs and compliance gaps, the statement said.

The startup’s AI helps to identify opportunities to improve customer experience, supports frontline agents, and is designed to become smarter with each call it analyzes, the statement said.

“Today’s contact center is mired with inefficient workflows and lack of data-driven training for frontline agents who represent the voice of the company. By leveraging AI to analyze customer interactions, businesses will turn their contact centers into growth centers,” Co-founder and CEO at Observe.AI Swapnil Jain said.

“By using AI to power end-to-end quality management and coaching solutions, we’ve used automation to free up more time to celebrate and scale what top performers do best and to offer timely, motivating coaching,” he noted in the company blog.

According to the press release, the startup has acquired more than 150 customers, and over 20,000 agent licenses to its platform over the last 12 months, in addition to experiencing a 600% year-on-year growth in revenue.

Moreover, Observe.AI‘s platform has analyzed over 10 million hours of customer service calls on its platform and the startup aims to use the current funding to build real-time agent assist capability, Jain wrote in the blog post.

This would enable Observe.AI‘s platform to help agents offer better customer support by prompting things like the next best action to take, providing in-the-moment knowledge management resources, and automating tedious processes that prevent and distract agents from focusing on the customer, he added.

Jain also noted that, Observe.AI‘s transcriptions have an accuracy of 90% or higher, and its AI is programmed to understand tonality and customer sentiment which helps reduce hold time, supervisor escalations, and average call-handling time, and also improves agent performance.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Observe.AI counts leading organizations such as Microsoft, intelBPO, and Talkdesk, among its partners, as has well-known customers such as Pearson, Alcon Laboratories, Concentrix, TripAdvisor, ClearMe and Root Insurance.

The startup claims that its platform is superior than Amazon’s Contact Lens, a virtual call center product launched in Julythis year, and Google’s Contact Center AI launched in November last year.

“As top brands continue to demand AI-powered solutions to support their frontline agents, automate workflows, and unlock customer intelligence from calls, we are pleased to see Observe.AI continue to gain traction and the confidence of financial markets,” said Shaloo Garg, Managing Director, Microsoft for Start-Ups.

“We look forward to leading Observe.AI up-market as they expand their Contact Center AI solution and develop their speech-to-text and Natural Language Processing capabilities with Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services,” Garg added.

Growth Opportunities

According to the startup, the voice-based customer service market is worth $300 billion and growing at a rate of 3% year-over-year, and although the global pandemic has accelerated AI adoption among businesses, human agents will continue maintain a crucial part in offering customer service for brands, the company suggests.

“From our research we estimate that frontline agents will still take about 50% of today’s current calls while playing an increasingly important role in representing brands,” Jain wrote on the blog.

“We, along with our investors, have identified a $100B opportunity in front of us, and we see a real opening to lead the way in the Contact Center AI market with our values-based approach to building our business,” he added.

Partner at Menlo Ventures, Steve Sloane said in the statement, “We see a massive market opportunity to solve automation, data capture, and collaboration problems that prevent enterprises from delivering the kinds of support experiences that customers deserve.”

Observe.AI is uniquely using AI to automate tedious customer service workflows and deliver actionable intelligence. We’re thrilled to be leading this investment round and are looking forward to supporting the company’s continued growth and innovation,” he added.

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