Forethought reels in $9 mln Series A in NEA-led round


San Francisco-based Forethought, an AI company for knowledge professionals, has secured $9 million in Series A funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round with participation from other investors that included K9 Ventures and Village Global.

PRESS RELEASE

San Francisco, CA — December 4, 2018 — Forethought, the AI company for knowledge professionals, today announced that it has raised $9M in Series A funding led by global venture capital firm NEA, with participation from K9 Ventures, Village Global, and a group of notable angel investors/entrepreneurs including Mathilde Collin (CEO/Co-founder of Front), Vlad Tenev (CEO/Co-founder of Robinhood), and Alexa von Tobel (CEO/Founder of LearnVest).

The Series A financing comes on the heels of the company winning the Startup Battlefield Competition at TechCrunch Disrupt in September 2018. Forethought aims to empower any knowledge professional to be a “genius at their job” by enriching workflows with information proactively retrieved from enterprise knowledge bases. Forethought recently launched their flagship product–Agatha Answers–to augment customer support agents. Using AI, Agatha recommends answers for support agents within existing help desk tools, resulting in increased agent productivity and overall time savings. Mixpanel, an early customer of Forethought, reported a time-to-ticket-resolution decrease of 30 percent.

From Search Engine to In-Context Answers.
“We are not just Google for the enterprise,” said Deon Nicholas, Forethought CEO and co-founder. “While Forethought provides search technology to enterprise use cases, the user experience is to provide people with answers before search even happens—Forethought accomplishes this by using natural language understanding (NLU) to interpret contextual cues in the work environment and proactively surfacing relevant information.”

For example, customer support agents currently waste a lot of time searching for answers to customer inquiries. With Forethought, answers surfaced through AI are recommended when agents open inquiry tickets, so agents never have to leave their inbox (on Zendesk, Salesforce, Front, etc.) and sift through the mountains of historical tickets and help desk articles. Nicholas continued: “We see search as a time-consuming middleman standing between question and answer.”

Keeping pace with Big Data.
Aside from helping agents access information, Forethought’s NLU approach also has the benefit of scaling as a company’s information naturally grows. Many companies have the good intention of setting up an enterprise knowledge base but commonly struggle to keep their knowledge base and processes up-to-date. Forethought’s NLU solution is able to interpret the meaning and intent of every support rep and customer interaction, which allows the system to surface new relevant information without being explicitly trained to do so by a human.

AI for Every Professional.
Customer support is just the first step. Forethought’s long term goal is to empower everyone to be a “genius at their job” by equipping knowledge professionals with the power of AI.

“We know that AI is going to reshape the future of work,” said Pete Sonsini, General Partner at NEA. “The Forethought team impressed us early on with both a compelling vision and a technologically sophisticated application. The industrial revolution changed the nature of work by augmenting a human’s physical speed and strength, and the next revolution is going to change what it means to be a knowledge worker by making people faster, smarter, and more efficient decision makers. We’re thrilled to partner with Forethought on their journey to pioneer the AI revolution.”

With their Series A funding, Forethought plans to build deeper integrations for different helpdesks/workflows and add more knowledge sources. They are expanding their product, design, and engineering teams as well as bringing on additional machine learning researchers and engineers.

Forethought had previously raised an initial round of financing led by K9 Ventures in November 2017.

Learn more at https://www.forethought.ai/

About Forethought
Forethought is a San Francisco-based AI company that aims to empower everyone to be a “genius at their job”. Agatha, the company’s flagship products uses AI to recommend answers to customer support agents within their existing workflows. Forethought’s core question-answering algorithm achieves world-class performance, on par with Google Brain and Microsoft Research, as measured by the industry standard benchmark for question-answering.

About NEA
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With more than $20 billion in cumulative committed capital since the firm’s founding in 1977, NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm’s long track record of successful investing includes more than 225 portfolio company IPOs and more than 375 acquisitions. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.

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