Financial Conversational AI Startup Kasisto Raises $15.5M
Conversational AI developer Kasisto has closed a $15.5 million Series C funding round led by Naples Technology Vendors and NCR Corporation. Kasisto is best known for creating the KAI platform for integrating digital assistants with banking and financial service providers, will use the new funding to keep up with demand in an increasingly valuable and competitive facet of enterprise AI.
Kasisto designed KAI to handle digital interactions between banks and their customers. There are different versions of KAI for consumer banking, business banking, and investment management, but all are built around a conversational AI program that can serve as a personalized banker for those customers. The AI works as a chatbot and a voice app for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, offering vocal versions of its online text conversations. The sophistication of the AI jumped a few months ago when the startup debuted its new Enlighten digital assistant, one better able to mimic human conversation and parse user information to be more proactive and helpful for financial guidance.
“Enlighten breaks the stereotype of today’s ‘chatbots’ by offering financial institutions the power to create the most humanizing and engaging digital customer experiences through hyper-personalization and proactive communication,” Kasisto CEO Zor Gorelov wrote in a blog announcing the funding. “Simply put, Enlighten is breaking new ground in terms of how conversational AI is delivered, experienced and valued within the banking industry, at a time when the banking experience is being reinvented at many levels.”
Financial groups of all sizes are incorporating AI of late. Just last week, Wings Financial Credit Union, Minnesota’s largest credit union, began working with Nuance to add voice AI and vocal biometric security to its services. The interest in conversational AI fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic centered around healthcare, but the financial space added plenty of momentum in demand for the tech. U.S. Bank last year launched a voice assistant for its mobile app to allows users to carry out their banking requests using conversational language and imitating the experience of talking to a bank teller. And Bank of America saw its existing virtual assistant, Erica, become increasingly popular and more often used around the same time.
Kasisto’s AI handles customers for J.P. Morgan, TD, and other major financial institutions and claims to have doubled their customer base over the last year or so. The latest funding round is a significant bump up for Kasisto’s total funding, a total of $67 million, all told. But the value of the company is partly a reflection of the market’s growth. Kasisto cites one estimate that the already $4.2 billion conversational AI market globally will more than triple to $15.7 billion by 2024 and that financial services will be at the forefront of that growth. KAI’s success in improving the digital operations of financial institutions draws some of those investors to Kasisto, according to the startup’s leadership team.
“The intelligent digital assistant has quickly become the centerpiece of the digital servicing and engagement strategy across the financial services industry,” Gorelov said. “With KAI consistently delivering 85% containment rates, 50% reduction in customer service costs and 400% increase in digital engagement, Kasisto is leading the charge to reshape this crucially important digital banking experience.”