Voice AI Startup Skit Raises $23M After Changing Name From Vernacular.ai
Voice AI startup Skit has raised $23 million in a Series B funding round led by WestBridge Capital. The India-born company rebranded last month from Vernacular.ai. The company also opened up a New York City headquarters to bring its call center AI services to a broader international market, which the new capital will help fuel.
Skit offers call centers and companies needing customer service an AI platform to handle the work on their behalf. The Vernacular Intelligent Voice Assistant (VIVA) uses speech recognition and natural language understanding to interact with customers. VIVA is able to answer questions and try to meet their needs without requiring a human agent, thanks to machine learning algorithms trained on more than 10 million hours of data. The five-year-old startup can converse in nearly 20 languages and more than 160 dialects. The new money brings Skit’s total funding to about $30 million following a $5.1 million Series A round in mid-2020. The funding will help Skit scale its work on the international scene as well as broaden its base in India. The company reported quadruple revenue and customer base from the previous raise and has lined up clients in industries like retail, banking, and travel to accelerate its growth in the coming months.
“This investment comes when we are making strategic inroads into the US and SouthEast Asian markets,” Skit CEO Sourabh Gupta said in a statement. “Clients and investors alike have recognized the uniqueness and superiority of our product and continue to show confidence in our growth path.”
Skit’s funding is part of the overall trend of big checks coming toward conversational AI startups working in call centers and customer service. The already growing market spiked as the COVID-19 pandemic flooded companies like Skit with demand for customer service capabilities even as staffing was limited or reduced. That’s why there has been so much in the way of funding for such startups over the last year or so. The $78.15 million raised by Yellow, $52.5 million for Shelf.io, $14 million for higher-ed chatbot platform AdmitHub, Rasa’s $26 million round, and the $100 million raised by Gupshup are just the tip of the iceberg, and the market is only getting bigger.
“The global contact center market size is expected to grow steadily and reach a value of #496 billion by 2027.,” Gupta said. “To address this sizable growth, we at Skit are using voice bot innovation and our market observations to personalize caller experiences at customer contact centers, and deliver up to 50% cost reduction and superior customer experience. We are driven by the passion of our clients and our team to change the way businesses interact with their customers.”