Coca-Cola’s Investment Arm Chooses Voice AI Startup Aider for First Funding
New Zealand digital assistant developer startup Aider was chosen as the first investment for a new fund created by Coca-Cola’s corporate venturing platform, Amatil X and Artesian Venture Partners. The Amatil X Early Stage Venture Fund helped Aider close their NZ$750,000 funding round earlier this year, but did not make the official announcement until this month.
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Aider is the creator of a platform offering small business owners a way to interact with data applications conversationally. The virtual assistant interacts with business software and provides insight into revenue, sales numbers, and business logistics. The AI behind the voice can also analyze raw numbers to find trends and worthwhile information about sudden changes and unusual dips.
Amatil X came to Australia and New Zealand in 2018. According to Amatil, the new investment fund is aimed at startups like Aider, young startups applying technology to boost business and sales for other companies. The idea is that investing in these startups when they are young will position Amatil X and Artesian for bigger investments in the companies once they are larger. The funding round has propelled Aider to expand its features and offerings rapidly.
“Since our mid-year raise we launched our integrations with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant,” Aider CEO Brendan Roberts told Voicebot. “We have been participating in Mastercard’s Start Path program and we have been focused on delivering on our partner and channel strategy, building and launching our custom Natural Language Understanding (NLU) engine, and engaging with early adopters, primarily in Australasia but we are also relationship building and beta testing in North America.”
Bringing voice and AI to business activities is becoming more and more common. Startups like Aider and Vobo as well as giants like Salesforce and Microsoft are coming up with ways to apply voice to data collection and analytics. Aider’s clients are most often smaller businesses in the retail and hospitality space, but the software is flexible enough for other verticals as well. The AI can learn and adapt to its users and their businesses.
“We have learned a lot from our channel partners specifically in accounting and finance. Based on their feedback we have developed and tested an Advisory Intelligence Platform concept which will give SMB advisors access to their client’s full “data stories” and the insights Aider provides to these individual businesses,” Roberts said. “We are excited to be launching version one in early 2020 and we believe this will help scale our access to SMBs.”