Conversational AI Agency RAIN Closes $3M Funding Round
Voice AI agency RAIN has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round led by Stanley Ventures, the investor branch of Stanley Black & Decker. RAIN plans to use the funding to fuel the creation of new conversational AIs usable for enterprise clients whose employees don’t necessarily sit in an office, which RAIN refers to as a “deskless workforce.”
Made It RAIN
RAIN is best known for designing and producing voice apps for many major brands, including nearly a quarter of the Fortune 100 companies. Last year, the startup worked with Nike to run a real-time sneaker sale through Google Assistant, which netted them three Cannes Lions awards. The new investment will help RAIN leverage that experience with voice technology toward boosting productivity in the workplace. The idea is that workers would give voice commands instead of manually typing or tapping at a screen to find, add, or organize information. Voice commands understood and carried out by a natural language understanding engine would eliminate several steps in standard data entry, shortening the time to complete a task. RAIN envisions its solution as platform-agnostic, operating either on its own or augment devices, websites, and mobile apps with a custom voice interface. The same kinds of commands would help farmers count crops, retailers and manufacturers monitor stock, or hospital workers ensure medical supplies aren’t depleted.
“Voice AI has been making waves in consumer technology for some time now. We have long been focused on how that same technology can dramatically simplify and enhance professional workflows,” RAIN CEO Nithya Thadani said. “How does a worker input data while wearing gloves – or check inventory without taking their eyes off a customer? It requires purpose-built solutions that leverage the hardware and infrastructure that workers use on the job.”
The demand for this kind of solution is growing, according to RAIN. A Gartner study predicting voice interactions will account for 25% of interactions between workers and software. RAIN isn’t the only pioneer in bringing voice technology to the enterprise space, however. The competition is far from settled, however. Voice tech startup Aiqudo recently incorporated a voice assistant into mobile apps and head-mounted smart glasses running mCloud Technologies industrial AI systems. Thre’s also Alan AI, which embeds a voice assistant in the mobile apps companies provide to employees in the field, while Datch raised $3.2 million in funding back in June for its data collecting voice assistant.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated interest in enterprise voice tech as companies look for ways to reduce contact and infection rates. RAIN experimented with helping small businesses do just that back in April when it launched the Curbie chatbot as a free tool connecting businesses with curbside pickup to customers after placing an order so that there’s no need for them to enter the building to get their purchase.