Enterprise Conversational AI Startup Webio Raises $4M
Customer service conversational AI platform Webio has closed a $4 million Series A funding round led by Finch Capital. The Irish startup plans to use the new capital to grow the reach of its AI for the contact centers of financial service providers following the industry’s rapid adoption of digital tools during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Webio launched in 2016, pitching better, more productive customer interactions for financial services providers like banks and insurance companies. The financial space had begun experimenting with conversational AI, but the necessity of digital interactions when the COVID-19 pandemic began saw a rush to embed the technology far faster than usual for the industry. With little or no coding, Webio can generate a conversational AI capable of talking to customers through text and voice channels. The interactions can then be analyzed, examining both the words used and the emotional tone of the discussion. Webio claims the AI can measure these factors well enough to keep most customers happy. The AI triples the efficiency of text communications and quintuples it for phone calls compared to relying on humans.
“Conversations about money are stressful and difficult, not only for the customer but also for agents tasked with having these conversations. Going digital means companies can create a whole new set of digital experiences that help customers feel more confident in having those difficult conversations and ultimately, stop them from falling into unnecessary and significant financial difficulty,” Webio CEO Cormac O’Neill said. “And we are excited that Webio’s conversational AI is enabling companies to engage with customers in a more empathetic manner, at scale. There are very exciting times ahead for us. We are certainly in the right market and at the right time. All I can say is watch this space.”
The new funding is double Webio’s previous round, also led by Finch. Webio boasts more than 100% growth year on year, but the new funding will help it double its employee count by the end of the year. The company is also far from alone in seeing a boost from companies adapting to changes wrought by COVID-19. AI in customer service and support is in high demand in every industry and has meant a lot of checks for startups with the tech to fill that need. The range goes from $5 million for OpenDialog AI or e-commerce conversational AI startup Zowie’s recent $14 million and voice-based customer service AI developer Tenyx $15 million up to Invoca’s recent $83 million, Observe.AI’s $125 million, and the $400 million raised by Uniphore in February. Meanwhile, Gupshup has applied the $340 million raised last year and bought a spree of conversational AI providers specializing in verticals like banking and e-commerce.