We participated into the recently announced investment round of Uniphore and thought it worthwhile sharing and discussing our thesis on this latest addition to our portfolio –
Uniphore is a global Conversational AI technology company with offices in the U.S., India and Singapore. Uniphore believes the future of customer service is every voice being truly heard. The Company’s vision is to bridge the gap between people and machines through voice. Uniphore enables businesses globally to deliver transformational customer service by providing a platform of Conversational Analytics, Conversational Assistant and Conversational Security that changes the way enterprises engage their consumers, build loyalty and realize efficiencies.
Voice is the Future — While the jury is still out, we are believers of voice eventually becoming the key medium for human-machine interaction, a paradigm being pushed ever so often by developments in AI. While voice has been the most important medium for human communication since times immemorial, this basic tenet is being re-surfaced in the behavior of consumers around the world in how they interact with machines most comfortably. It is estimated that one in six Americans owns a smart speaker (Google Home, Amazon Echo) and eMarketer forecasts that nearly 100M smartphone users will be using voice assistants in 2020. In the ever-evolving digital world where speed, efficiency, and convenience are constantly being optimized, the mass adoption of artificial intelligence in users’ everyday lives is fueling the shift towards voice applications. Uniphore is a voice-dedicated platform that aims to use the power of machine-voice compatibility to make enterprise processes cheaper and more efficient.
Customer Support Industry– Globally a $350B industry, agent-led customer support is one of the low hanging fruits for positive intervention driven by AI. Depending on the industry and complexity of industry context, between 20–30% of all call center engagements can be dealt with by trained machines or bots. In the remainder of cases, voice-led algorithms can make agents better informed and equipped to deliver higher productivity, business conversion or simply a smoother customer experience — all of which are core enterprise objectives. Uniphore has been singularly focused on problem-solving for this industry group using their platform and we absolutely agree with their go-to-market approach.
Enterprise Validation — With tens of large enterprise customers spread across US, Asia and India, Uniphore has validated their capability to offer multi-lingual voice led solutions that can be easily incorporated within their customer support workflows and improve processes on parameters of time, efficiency and cost. Our conversations with select customer champions revealed that Uniphore’s problem solving approach was best-in-class and their platform features yielded immediate and visible results within their set-ups.
Solutions Approach — Delivering a production-ready enterprise grade solution needs multiple components to come together in a voice-driven platform — language capability, context-aware NLP, emotion and sentiment detection engines, voice to text and vice versa etc. While working with enterprises in various markets, Uniphore has carefully constructed solutions as a combination of in-house core IP and external capabilities available for integration. We think this approach enables them to offer solutions globally, build prototypes faster and increases their scope of verticals where they are highly effective.
All Good Things — We feel privileged to have an opportunity to work alongside a fantastic co-founding and management team who are driven by the desire to “leave a dent” in the customer support space and dream about building a platform play in voice AI. It obviously helped us in building conviction that the company has been growing their business multi-fold on a yearly basis and doing it consistently. We also appreciate the chance to work with high quality global investors and board members who have come together on this exciting journey with Uniphore.
A quick word on Healthifyme(deviating from the enterprise theme) — The company is turning out to be one of the few B2C AI companies to have demonstrated product-market-fit. Their AI driven fitness bot Ria is a 27/7 coach that consumers across India and South East Asia are lapping up as a trusted partner in their journey of weight loss and healthy eating. It is gratifying to see end consumers give a thumbs up to AI in helping them through something extremely important — their health and fitness!
We are confident that there’s more to come from us in the AI space as we pro-actively seek teams and ideas that are disrupting business models, consumer behaviors and enterprise processes with AI.