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Conversational AI company Tact.ai raises funding from Amazon, Microsoft, Comcast and Salesforce

Tact.ai offers voice AI tools for enterprise sales teams

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
June 26, 2018
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4bb6

While conversational AI has begun to revolutionize the way that consumer technologies are sold, that hasn't happened in the same way yet for salespeople in the enterprise space. 

"Enterprise technology has turned them into slaves to the Inbox and data entry robots. Today’s sellers face tremendous friction from both the apps they need to use and the people they need to corral in order to get deals done," Chuck Ganapathi, CEO of Tact.ai, a conversational AI platform aimed at enterprise sales teams, told VatorNews.

"We solve these problems by delivering a new system of workflow for sellers — powered by AI running on edge devices — to transform their everyday sales activities. An AI Assistant for a frictionless way to work with apps. An Intelligent Workspace for a frictionless way to work with people. Both built on our conversational AI platform that connects any application to any device."

On Monday, Tact.ai announced a $27 million Series C round of funding, which came from new investors, including Amazon Alexa Fund, Comcast Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors Accel Partners, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), Redpoint Ventures and Upfront Ventures.

"We are in the midst of the largest platform shift in recent years: from the Cloud to the Intelligent Edge. At Tact.ai, we’re all about applying this transformation to the world of CRM and sales. And having the Cloud leaders Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce as investors — a feat no other company has achieved — is a validation of our vision and execution. It also helps stand out in the war for AI talent," said Ganapathi.

"Comcast Ventures has backed many next-gen companies who focus on a better human experience -- Lyft, Slack, NextDoor, Color and others. We have a shared vision of doing similar things for the enterprise. We’re glad to identify a partner in David Zilberman who has a commitment to using AI to enrich the human experience, not replace it. For Tact.ai and Comcast, that means making enterprise software more human-friendly."

This round brings the company's total funding to more than $57 million.

Founded in 2012, Tact.ai currently offers two products: AI Sales Assistant and Intelligent Workspace. The Assistant uses chat and voice to help automate administrative work, while the Intelligent Workspace. The company's customers include GE, Kelly Services, The AES Corporation, Cisco and Honeywell.

"The conundrum they face is that most enterprise sales teams are constantly traveling, and don’t have time to be in front of computers. One of GE’s sellers described the value we offer best: “I love this technology because in one day I saw more customers; I updated CRM more times, eight times in one day versus once a day on average; and I never even had to open up my laptop," said Ganapathi.

The ROI the platform provides for these sales team is accelerated revenue growth through greater productivity. 

"Our customers achieve higher win rates, faster deal cycles, and greater sales productivity, while establishing a true compass for their digital sales transformation efforts. Tact.ai improves revenue growth, and the sales and customer experience for sales teams, including giving them ROI of a 13 month selling year,5 percent increase in win rates and 35 percent faster sales cycles," Ganapathi told me. 

The only other existing solution for customers, he said, is for them to "try to cobble together pieces of our functionality through a custom build with their IT departments."

"What really helps us win that build versus buy decision is our platform. We have spent tens of millions of dollars over five years in developing our platform, resulting in five patents. We have taken our collective insights about building human-friendly software and built out-of-the-box experiences that companies can further fine tune to fit their business. This results in significant time to market advantage for our customers while delivering a product sellers love."

The company plans to use the new funding to expand its operations into new products.

"Today, we’ve already developed our Voice Intelligence capabilities to go beyond traditional speech transcription and commands. Now, we’ve taken those capabilities in-car for CRM and sales. We push the envelope each day in terms of developing features and enhancements, and that won’t change today or in the future," Ganapathi said.

Tact.ai also has plans to expand to new markets. The company recently opened a new EMEA headquarters in the United Kingdom, and a new development center in Bengaluru, India.

"Since we focus on large global enterprises with globally distributed sales forces, both regions provide their advantages and it’s important to expand our geographical reach into them."

Conversational AI has been making great headwinds these last few years, and Ganapathi attirbutes that to a big platform shit. 

"We believe it’s time to move beyond traditional speech transcription and commands, and this is where our Voice Intelligence comes into play. It delivers conversation-driven workflows that allow sellers to control their enterprise applications with natural language in-car," he said.

Tact.ai's "North Star," he told me, is "to build a product that sellers love. A product that helps them make more money and have a more fulfilling work-life."

"Sales is one of the largest professions on the planet and the life-blood of every company — and it is our mission to get Tact.ai in the hands of every seller in the world. At more than $40 nbillion annually at the end of 2017, the CRM market is poised to become the largest software market in the world by 2020. Gartner projects it will overtake the database and ERP markets and we think that gives us a lot of runway to grow and build the next great enterprise software company."