Mountain View, California-based Passage.AI, a newly launched provider of AI-enabled conversational interfaces that helps companies slash expenses, has raised $3 million in funding. The investors included Engineering Capital, Storm Ventures, Seabed VC, Milliways Ventures, Array VC, Gunderson Dettmer, NeoTribe Ventures and Eleven Two Capital.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Sept. 27, 2017 – With an annual customer service budget of $6 billion, one of the telecom giants fields about 100,000 customer phone calls per day – and its live agents are stuck resolving 20 percent of their inbound inquiries with the tedium of having to instruct consumers to turn on and off their router. But what if those assistants’ time could be better spent, thanks to a conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) interface, a.k.a. a chatbot, that saves the company $600 million per year?
Passage.AI, which today announced it is coming out of stealth, offers an AI-driven conversational interface solution that can help companies slash expenses by enabling anyone to create a highly versatile AI chatbot, without writing a line of code. The company is also announcing that they have secured $3 million in seed funding to date from a group led by Engineering Capital, Storm Ventures, Seabed VC, Milliways Ventures, Array VC, Gunderson Dettmer, NeoTribe Ventures, Eleven Two Capital and individual angel investors.
Conversational interfaces are increasingly becoming the norm in aiding customers to do everything from ordering cowboy boots to tracking loyalty rewards to filling out a form by answering questions via text or voice on Alexa. The cost savings tied to their widespread adoption is projected to reach $38 billion annually.
Now, Passage.AI is building on the opportunity with the launch of a solution that has:
a bot-building tool, with no AI coding required, that utilizes AI and NLP (natural language processing) technologies – and can be deployed anywhere in as little as two weeks
has the kind of depth that enables it to more readily understand a user, regardless of how the users express themselves
uses one of the most sophisticated deep-learning models – long short-term memory – that bring the same sort of AI “horsepower” to an NLP interface associated with self-driving cars and package-delivering drones
“Passage.AI is revolutionizing how companies can leverage natural language understanding and processing to answer their customers questions, or for most any interaction,” said Venky Harinarayan, co-founder of Milliways Ventures and Rocketship.VC. “Their advanced AI-driven conversational interface platform is already resulting in happier customers, and we are projecting that this will amount to a tremendous cost savings for enterprises and a better experience for their end-customers.“
Passage.AI uses the latest deep learning technologies to build an NLP engine that includes conversational AI building blocks. These blocks understand natural language text and speech, creating an intelligent conversational interface capable of better identifying intents, of extracting the most useful, pertinent and timely information, of understanding and responding to queries, of searching through vast amounts of data, and of creating an intelligent conversational interface.
Passage.AI’s technology is deployed today by major enterprises, including Kohl’s department stores and educational organizations such as Udacity, to better service, engage and retain their customers. The companies have already realized many benefits, including reduced costs, improved customer engagement, and the delivery of superior customer service.
“Passage AI offers an outstanding conversational interface that we evaluated in our global chatbot scouting this year. Their NLP/NLU capabilities are very sophisticated and ready to interface with all the major messaging platforms. Definitely a very mature and well designed solution”, Jorge Davila-Chacon, CTO of Heldenkombinat GmbH (Germany). Heldenkombinat delivers advice, skills and business opportunities in all machine learning playing fields to its customers in Europe.
Led by WalmartLabs alumni Madhu Mathihalli and Ravi Raj and LinkedIn alumnus Mitul Tiwari, Passage.AI is ushering in an easier way for anyone to enter the conversational AI market at a time when many companies create chatbots for applications, ranging from helping patients manage their mental health to simply getting a weather forecast. As consumers expect instant satisfaction with their customer experiences –and a readiness to voice their displeasure over social media – they increase the pressure on businesses to effectively and correctly answer customer queries.
“Today’s consumers expect instant, seamless and positive experiences with companies they choose to do business with,” said Ravi N. Raj, CEO and founder of Passage.AI. “Our conversational AI platform delivers superior results, while helping improve customer retention and loyalty. The best part: most customers don’t even realize they are speaking with an AI chatbot. From helping them locate items within a store to answering a simple question over the phone, our NLP technology takes conversational AI capabilities to the next level, and so far, our customers have been very happy with the results.”
Available for messaging and voice platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack, SMS, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home, the Passage.AI chatbot automatically responds to messages from customers by querying content using the NLP platform. Passage.AI dramatically simplifies how consumers can ably communicate with a company.
Passage.AI use cases include:
Helping a customer locate items in store by chatting with your bot on Facebook Messenger.
Filling out a form by answering a few questions over text or voice on Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Chatting with a co-worker on Slack, while for checking flights for an upcoming business trip, that you can take together.
Getting automated customer service responses for questions about service outages, technician availability, bank hours, etc.
Tracking a package or loyalty reward points from any messaging service.
Receiving personalized deals, offers and coupons that can be redeemed from within a messaging app.
Making appointments or reservations with a business by phone without having to wait on hold before talking to a representative.
Deploy your conversational interface as a skill on Amazon’s Alexa platform, which is supported by millions of devices.
Allowing your customers to talk to you on these devices simply by saying your name and asking questions.
For more information go to: www.passage.ai.
Founded in 2016 by WalmartLabs alumni Madhu Mathihalli and Ravi Raj and LinkedIn alumnus Mitul Tiwari, Passage.AI enables businesses to harness the power of AI-enabled conversational interfaces to bring bottom-line benefits, to better utilize service agents saddled by mundane tasks, and to deliver exceptional customer experience. Passage.AI counts Kohl’s, Udacity and PwC among the business and services that use its solution. The company has secured $3 million in total funding and is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.