Observe.AI’s tech to monitor and coach call centre agents raises $26m

11 Dec 2019

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With $26m in fresh funding, Observe.AI plans to open a third office in Dallas and double its workforce.

Observe.AI, a start-up that has developed an AI platform that can be used to coach and monitor call centre workers, announced that it has raised $26m in Series A funding.

The investment was led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Steadview Capital, 01 Advisors and existing investors Emergent Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners. This brings the total raised by the company to $34m since it was founded in late 2017.

Observe.AI’s platform leverages speech and language processing technologies to “ensure compliance” in call centres and offer data-driven coaching to agents. The San Francisco-based start-up has partnered with companies such as TripAdvisor, Microsoft, Talkdesk and ClearMe.

In a statement, Observe.AI said: “Thanks to our incredible team, partners and customers, we’ve seen rapid growth. In just nine months, we’ve expanded our team from five to 45 with offices in both San Francisco and Bangalore. During this time we brought on more than 100 customers.”

The company added that it now analyses more than 250,000 calls per day, providing its services to thousands of customer service voice agents across seven countries.

How will the funding be used?

Observe.AI said that it is in the process of doubling its team, bolstering sales, marketing and customer success. In January, the business will open its third office, located in Dallas, Texas.

For its customers, the start-up is working to enhance its product by adding features that will go beyond traditional speech analytics, it said. “In the near-term, you can expect advancements to our agent scorecards, as well as new data visualisations and reports to manage agent performance.

“In late 2020, we will offer more opportunities to augment agents with AI live on calls by offering them the insights they need to deliver the best possible customer experience.”

Observe.AI’s Lindsey Plocek added: “We’ll also continue to invest in our company culture. We’ve found that one of the most successful ways to maintain a homogenous culture across two offices is to send nearly every member of our team on a ‘field trip’ to the other side of the world.”

As part of this initiative, each month two members of the start-up’s India team spend a month working in the US, while each member of the US team spends a week in Bangalore during onboarding.

Disrupting the market

The five team members behind Observe.AI started the business in the Bay Area after they had a “hunch” that advancements in speech, natural language processing and artificial intelligence were opening up opportunities in every industry and vertical, including customer service call centres.

The founders took a trip to the Philippines where they visited a call centre in Manila and realised that this technology could transform the way that the 100m agents in this industry are working.

Co-founder and CEO Swapnil Jain said: “During our trip, we were shocked to see how inefficient agents were working because of outdated processes and technologies.

“In the Philippines, we saw that many teams were using multiple systems and spreadsheets just to quality check a single call. At a time when one out of every two customers goes unsatisfied with their experience, we knew there was a massive opportunity to make life better for both contact centre employees and their customers.”

On this week’s funding announcement, the CEO added: “It’s clear that the future for voice customer service is what we call ‘human plus AI’. Sometimes people just want to talk to an agent.

“By using AI to coach agents with voice insights, and to shortly augment those agents on live calls in 2020, we’ll empower contact centres to significantly up-level the customer experience. That said, we’re just getting started.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic