Nine lessons on how Niantic reached a $4B valuation

We’ve captured much of Niantic’s ongoing story in the first three parts of our EC-1, from its beginnings as an “entrepreneurial lab” within Google, to its spin-out as an independent company and the launch of Pokémon GO, to its ongoing focus on becoming a platform for others to build augmented reality products upon. It’s not […]

Bonobo AI raises $4.5M seed round to help companies turn interactions with customers into valuable data

Bonobo AI, an AI-based platform that helps companies get insights from customer support calls, texts and other interactions, announced today that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by G20 Ventures and Capri Ventures. Founded in 2016 and led by co-founder and CEO Efrat Rapoport, the Tel Aviv-based startup claims that its technology […]

Ultimate.ai nabs $1.3M for a customer service AI focused on non-English markets

For customer service, Ultimate.ai‘s thesis is it’s not humans or AI but humans and AI. The Helsinki- and Berlin-based startup has built an AI-powered suggestion engine that, once trained on clients’ data-sets, is able to provide real-time help to (human) staff dealing with customer queries via chat, email and social channels. So the AI layer […]

Twilio’s contact center products just got more analytical with Ytica acquisition

Twilio, a company best known for supplying a communications APIs for developers has a product called Twilio Flex for building sophisticated customer service applications on top of Twilio’s APIs. Today, it announced it was acquiring Ytica (pronounced Why-tica) to provide an operational and analytical layer on top of the customer service solution. The companies would […]

Zendesk expands into CRM with Base acquisition

Zendesk has mostly confined itself to customer service scenarios, but it seems that’s not enough anymore. If you want to truly know the customer behind the interaction, you need a customer system of record to go with the customer service component. To fill that need, Zendesk announced it was acquiring Base, a startup that has […]

Apple’s Business Chat signs up five more brands, more tech platforms

Apple Business Chat, Apple’s new platform for allowing companies and brands to communicate with customers over iMessage, is expanding. In addition to Dish becoming the first TV provider to support Business Chat, Apple says it has also added four other brands, Aramark, Four Seasons, Harry & David, and American Express, in addition to five new […]

Cogito scores $37M as AI-driven sentiment analysis biz grows

Cogito announced a $37 million Series C investment today led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. Previous investors Salesforce Ventures and OpenView also chipped in. Mark Midle of Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, has joined Cogito’s Board of Directors The company has raised over $64 million since it emerged from the MIT Human Dynamics Lab back in […]

Dish is the first TV provider to offer support for Apple’s Business Chat

Dish today announced it’s becoming the first TV provider to offer customer support over Apple’s Business Chat. Launched earlier this year, Business Chat allows companies to communicate with their customers over iMessage in order to answer questions, provide customer service, or even enable purchases. In Dish’s case, the TV provider says its customers can use […]

Customer service bot startup Agent IQ announces $6.3 million Series A led by Sierra Ventures

If you’ve tried to deal with a bot before you can speak to a human customer service rep, you know how frustrating that process can sometimes be. Sure, there are basic tasks that can free up a human rep to handle the more difficult matters, but it can be exasperating when there is no easy […]

Onward helps businesses automate their customer service

How much can customer service be automated? Onward has some straightforward targets — 40 percent of tickets and 40 percent of messages should be automated, and average response times should be 40 seconds on average. Founders Rémi Cossart and Pramod Thammaiah describe this as Automation40 — basically, a set of goals for businesses looking to […]