Aisera Inc., an artificial intelligence-powered “service experience” startup that aims to enhance employee and customer experiences, said today it has closed on a $90 million late-stage round of funding.
The Series D round was led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity and Thoma Bravo and saw the participation of a host of other investors: Zoom Video Communications Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., RingCentral Inc., True Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Webb Investment Network and Sherpalo.
Aisera has created what it says is a proactive, personalized and predictive AI-based Service Experience Platform that automates key processes around customer service, employee service desk and information technology ticketing. A kind of ServiceNow on steroids, the platform powers virtual agents that can handle multiple types of requests.
For instance, if employees’ company-issued smartphones break, they can request a new device, and Aisera will show them what options are available. On the customer service side, it can help with inquiries around tracking orders, refunds and returns. The platform also handles operations experiences, helping IT staff investigate the root cause of application outages, for example.
Aisera said its platform can auto-resolve tasks, actions and workflows for IT, human resources, customer services, sales and operations teams. What’s more, it can integrate with widely used business applications such as Salesforce, Oracle, Zendesk, Workday, Adobe and Atlassian.
The key component is AI. Aisera incorporates unsupervised natural language understanding and knowledge graph-based conversational AI models to handle interactions. It’s further enhanced with user intelligence models that are able to analyze user behavior and sentiment, so it can understand if that person is satisfied with the solution or advice it offers.
Aisera Chief Executive Muddu Sudhakar appeared on SiliconANGLE’s mobile livestreaming studio theCUBE earlier this year, where he described his company as a pioneer of artificial intelligence operations, or AIOps, that’s helping enterprises become “AI-native.”
“The next layer is going to be called the system of intelligence, and that’s where artificial intelligence will play,” Sudhakar said. “We talk cloud-native, [but] it’ll be called AI-native. AI-native is a new buzzword and it implies using the AI for customer service and IT operations.”
Constellation Research Inc. Vice President and Principal Analyst Andy Thurai told SiliconANGLE that Aisera offers a couple of different platforms that are strong in the marketplace. They include an AIOps solution that provides automated root cause analysis, automated causal graph and a service topology graph that’s based on change requests, incident data and alerts. It has also created an AI-based asset discovery tool that identifies applications, devices and currently provisioned resources, providing continuous visibility into service components and their operational status, he said.
Thurai was also impressed by Aisera’s conversational AI platform, which he said is a “mature platform” that supports 74 languages. “It also provides auto-language detection, which means a customer and support agent can translate to the language of their choice and have the system to a proper translation,” Thurai said. “Reinforcement learning works by learning from past customer conversations, tickets and cases, essentially using customer knowledge and user profiles to retain itself. It also has the option to escalate chatbots to a live agent when needed.”
Aisera’s AI-native play has found a receptive audience, with the company expanding its customer base to more than 75 million users, growing more than 300% in the last 12 months. Its customers include VMware Inc., Snowflake Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. The startup said economic uncertainty this year has meant that enterprises are becoming more interested in using AI to automate many aspects of their business and increase the efficiency of their workforces and boost customer loyalty.
“AI has become necessary to support employees in today’s highly inflationary, work-from-anywhere environment and customers who expect to get help expeditiously,” Sudhakar said in a statement.
That AI is having a major impact too, with Aisera claiming that customers see big improvements in employee and customer satisfaction, while reducing their support costs by up to 70%. “Aisera will be the invisible hand of innovation that enables all users – across all lines of business and industries – to get the support experiences they’ve come to expect without human latency, error or disruption,” Sudhakar promised.
Aisera said it will use the funds from today’s round to strengthen its position in the AI service experience space, with a focus on expanding into new industry verticals.