Conversational Intelligence Startup Symbl.ai Raises $17M
Virtual assistant API designer Symbl.ai has raised $17 million in a Series A funding round led by Great Point Ventures. Symbl.ai’s software powers voice and text for enterprise virtual assistants that can understand natural language conversations.
Symbl.ai offers its APIs to a range of industries looking to apply machine learning to conversational data, whether in text or voice form. The tech can connect the conversation to context clues without extra training or direct control, speeding up the integration of its services into a client’s portfolio. The tech includes transcription and analytics services, helpful in charging customer behavior or looking for marketing trends based on what people say in conversation. The new funding nearly quadruples the $4.7 million raised last year in a seed round when the company debuted its products. The new money is aimed at developing more products and adding more people to their team.
“Products and applications achieve greater adoption by delivering highly personalized user experiences, driven by data and intelligence. However, for extracting intelligence and insights from conversations, they are faced with complex and limited options: either invest upfront on open source options with high unpredictability and huge data management cycles or use general purpose NLP that weren’t built to truly understand human conversations with context,” Symbl.ai CEO Surbhi Rathore said in a statement. “Symbl.ai was built for growing B2B and B2C brands, and is run by industry veterans. We know what it takes to scale conversation intelligence in your product and want to bring context and structure to all conversations so that they can be acted upon in real time without losing on critical information.”
Symbl.ai was one of the Alexa Next Stage graduates last year during their experiment with a distanced, virtual accelerator. The Alexa Fund and Techstars coordinated seven startups from five countries in the renamed Alexa Accelerator for an eight-week program, including Symblr.ai. The startup has been growing quickly since last year’s debut. Most recently, its services became available on Agora’s new marketplace of features from third-party developers. Symbl.ai joined Bose, Marsview, and VoiceMod, among others on the platform.
The $17 million is a big score for Symbl.ai, but is only a tiny part of the huge spike in enterprise conversational AI investment over the last year, partly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding and acquisitions of startups in the field are a familiar story. Microsoft’s nearly $20 billion acquisition of Nuance is easily the biggest number in the space, but the $70 million raised by Kore.ai, the $78.15 million scored by Yellow.ai, Shelf.io’s pickup of $52.5 million, and Gupshup collecting $100 million are just a few of the other recent standouts as the market expands.