Aiser, a startup developing what it describes as an “AI-driven” ticketing system, announced today it has raised $90 million in Series D funding led by Goldman Sachs with participation from True Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Icon Ventures. Khosla. Ventures, First Round Capital and others. CEO Muddu Sudhakar said the new cash will be used to expand the market and support Aisera’s go-to-market strategy, as well as invest in the company’s product development, research and development, sales and marketing initiatives.
Sudhakar says he created Aisera after realizing the need for “intelligent AI” solutions that could automatically solve customer service, IT, sales and operations problems. Using artificial intelligence, the platform connects to existing record systems, including helpdesk portals, to respond to incoming requests and requests.
Sudhakar founded Aisera in 2017 with Christos Trifonas, a longtime colleague. More recently, Sudhakar has led teams at ServiceNow and EMC, having previously founded startups (Caspida, Cetas, Kazeon, and Sanera Systems) that were acquired by VMware and Splunk. Trifonas, a former AT&T Bell Labs researcher, worked with Sudhakar at several of his locations before joining Aisera.
“We thought [the pandemic] can be a problem, but Aisera technology works very well in remote environments. Clients wanted AI and automation to drive user engagement and adoption,” Sudhakar told TechCrunch via email. “Now, in the current downturn in the market, we see the need to reduce the cost of licenses and people. This is driving demand for Aisera as we can help organizations reduce IT and business service costs.”
As Sudhakar explains, the Aisera platform is learning to solve problems with a combination of language-parsing AI and robotic process automation, or RPA. RPA technology attempts to mimic how humans interact with software to perform basic repetitive tasks at scale. This is not a particularly new idea – RPA vendors including Automation Anywhere and UiPath claim to be able to do this to some extent. But Sudhakar claims that the Aisera RPA brand is tailor-made for customer/employee service use cases.
“Aisera competes in some ways with ServiceNow and Zendesk, but also complements those solutions as we partner with them as well as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Salesforce, Atlassian and Cisco,” said Sudhakar. “Aisera is unique and has different ontology and taxonomy for every field and vertical industry… [We also do] Train and train AI on customer datasets to capture the specific intents, phrases, and utterances needed to natural language processing and natural language understanding“.
When a request comes in via email, voice, ticket, or chat, Aisera tries to understand it by parsing it with an algorithm trained to understand the language. The platform then cross-refers to sources such as ServiceNow, Salesforce, Oracle, Confluence, and SharePoint for customer data to personalize its query responses. After this step, Aisera creates a list of actions that need to be performed to complete the request and sends it to the “workflow management” mechanism.
Aisera can return articles or article snippets from the company’s knowledge base that are most likely to answer a customer’s question. Moreover, it can automatically take certain actions, such as resetting the user’s password – this is where RPA comes into play – or forwarding requests to the appropriate team. For more complex issues, Aisera can also provide “next best action” recommendations to teams, improving with each additional data point.
“Our technology helps companies improve their operating results by enabling them to limit support and help desk, customer service and support costs, and [more]Sudhakar added. “Aisera offers solutions for both large and small organizations that can be used in business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets for IT, HR, cybersecurity, customer service, sales, marketing, legal and financial departments.
Aiser claims to do a lot. Unfortunately, without access to internal data, it’s hard to know how well a product works in practice. The platform is supposed to recognize over 70 languages, but does it understand all of these languages equally well? What happens when Aisera makes a mistake (like getting the wrong support article) while resolving requests? Dont clear; We asked the company for more information.
However, if you take a step back to study the larger industry, it is clear that there is a lot of interest in AI technologies for customer service. A 2021 interview from ManageEngine (the IT division of Zoho) found that 59% of executives in the US are using AI — for example, in chatbots — to improve customer service. Realistic or not, many see AI as a path to greater efficiency (i.e., handling more customer requests with fewer resources) and more personalization (i.e., more sales).
This is not a panacea conclusions are mixed on whether customers prefer even simple chatbots to human agents. But the hype around AI is fueling the growth of startups like Language.ai, which automatically tags customer conversations to resolve service issues. Last year, Zendesk acquired skillfully, whose product platform has provided a range of AI-powered capabilities, including a sorting feature to automatically label incoming service requests to help classify workflow. There are also Ultimate.aiplatform for collecting data and creating bots; Ushur, which offers business a service to create communication flows based on AI; as well as Tidioset of applications for live chat and chatbots based on artificial intelligence.
Competition aside, Sudhakar believes Aisera has good room for growth as it has over 100 customers and about 80 million users. Current subscribers include brands such as Zoom, Chegg, McAfee, and Autodesk, as well as federal, state, military, and defense agencies.
“We are in a somewhat recession-proof industry where our cloud and AI technologies can fit budgets better than others. AI and automation are key pillars for fighting inflation,” said Sudhakar. “Aisera is showing significant growth – 300% year-on-year – with gross margins between 80% and 90%. . . . While the tech industry faces uncertainty and some economic headwinds, Aisera’s business is booming.”
To date, Aisera, which employs about 250 people, has raised $180 million in capital.
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