Uniphore Software Systems Pvt, an Indian startup that aims to use artificial intelligence to deliver faster and more personalized customer support for corporate clients is securing a funding worth $51 million from investors including March Capital Partners and Chiratae Ventures.
The startup is based in Chennai and Palo Alto, Calif., and plans to use the emerging technology to change the labor-intensive business of call centers, displacing workers with machines. Former Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive Officer John Chambers’ JC2 Ventures owns about 10% of the startup. Existing backers also include Analog Devices Inc. founder Ray Stata and Infosys Ltd. billionaire co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan.
The startup was founded in 2008 by Umesh Sachdev and his classmate, Ravi Saraogi. They are competing with technology giants like Google, Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. as well as at least a dozen AI startups to automate the $350 billion call center industry, helping agents deliver more useful support while reducing the number of infuriating and ineffectual experiences.
“This is one of the largest rounds in an area of deep tech already seeing a lot of investor activity, representing the onset of the age of conversational AI,” said CEO Sachdev.
Uniphore will use the funds to hire talent, invest in research and development and accelerate expansion, particularly in its primary market in North America. The startup plans to increase its engineering and development operations to 200 employees in India by the year end, while another 60 will be based in the U.S. and 40 in Europe and Asia Pacific. Its customers include BNP Paribas SA, Genpact Ltd., NTT Data Corp., and PNB MetLife.