Clinc Receives $52M in Funding to Grow Conversational AI Platform and Technology
Clinc, a conversational AI company out of Ann Arbor, MI founded in 2015, has landed one of the larger investments in conversational AI. With $52M in series B financing from Insight Partners, DFJ Growth and other investors, the funding builds on a February 2017 round of $6.3 million. The company says that the capital will go to advancing product innovation, hiring nearly 150 employees and expanding into a new 25,000 square foot office. Clinc indicated the financing comes after revenue was up 300% last year, but the company declined to say off of what base.
Client Roster Includes Several Large Banks in U.S. and Abroad
To build conversational AI and virtual assistant experiences, Clinc’s technology deconstructs human speech using neural networks, natural language processing, and machine learning. Forbes noted that Clinc initially has developed its AI with a focus on the banking industry, which is why many of its largest clients are in that sector, such as US Bank, USAA and Barclays. “Clinc has much more advanced natural language understanding than the big players in the market,” said Zachary Gipson, Chief Innovation Officer, USAA.
Clinc partnered with Turkey’s largest bank, Isbank, to create a personal financial assistant named Maxi. Maxi was introduced in 2018 and was the first conversational AI to enter Turkey and already has over six million users. “Because our AI learns new languages in a neural network way without hardcoding new rules and grammar, banks can quickly build and deploy in over 80 languages,” claims Mars.
Clinc Expands Industry Coverage
In addition its roster of financial industry clients, Clinc has successfully implemented its technology across other verticals as well. The platform currently reaches 30M+ users through banks, restaurants, video games, health care, and automakers. Like other voice platform technology companies, Clinc is also eyeing the auto industry and launched its own version of an automotive platform in September of last year. The company currently has a partnership with Ford, where it is working in tandem with the auto manufacturer in Ford’s connected car lab. The test implementation allows users to employ voice commands to adjust the car’s climate and cruise control among other features.
Larger Voice Investments Going to Companies Outside of the Amazon and Google Ecosystems
The ability to move beyond the banking industry and enter other verticals is likely a key reason the company was able to secure a substantial funding round. Many recent financings in voice are focused on companies that are primarily building solutions to help companies operate within the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant ecosystems. Clinc is helping companies build their own solutions without those dependencies and in that way looks more like SoundHound or Voysis than many other companies in the voice industry. SoundHound last year closed a $100 million funding round about a year after it took in $75 million in financing and has since closed a number of large deals with automakers. Clinc’s funding round is another example where the larger investments are going into companies independent of Amazon and Google as was discussed in this week’s Voicebot Podcast Episode 97 with Audioburst’s Amir Hirsh.
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