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Involve.ai, a startup using AI to bolster customer success, today announced that it raised $16 million in a series A round led by Sapphire Ventures and other investors. The company says that the capital will be put toward product development and hiring on the engineering, data science, and go-to-market sides.
Customer success has emerged as a top priority for companies during the pandemic. Processes have been disrupted, causing businesses to rethink how they operate. But while having a good pulse on customer behaviors, preferences, and goals is best practice — 35% of respondents in a Deloitte report ranked customer success objectives like reducing churn as leading objectives — customer success teams often lack the right tools to support their workflows. For example, in a recent SmartKarrot survey, 84% customer success leaders said that automation is important, yet many — 70% — have no or low levels of it.
Involve aims to help customers find signals in siloed systems and parse through millions of data points to prevent customer churn, increase revenue, and personalize customer experiences. The company was cofounded by Gaurav Bhattacharya and Saumya Bhatnagar, who started coding when they were just 10 years old and met in a high school coding class in India. Before Involve, Bhattacharya and Bhatnagar launched patient experience software out of high school, which was eventually distributed by the Indian government to ultrasound specialists.
“Involve [began] as an employee engagement and volunteering platform. Being customer centric, we built rudimentary AI scripts to find churn risk and expansion potential in our user base. That proved very valuable,” CEO Bhattacharya told VentureBeat via email. “When the pandemic hit, and customer retention became an important topic, we provided our platform to companies to use, and they loved it. That was our ‘aha moment,’ and when decided to pivot the company to be an actionable customer intelligence platform, helping the world become more customer-centric.”
AI for customer success
According to Bhattacharya, post-pivot, San Francisco, California-based Involve had to build its own datasets of qualitative information that a customer success representative reviews in their daily job. It used these datasets to train its predictive model, which takes into account nine different factors per business vertical to establish a customer’s success with an organization.
“We realized there was a massive problem for customer success organizations that we could help solve, but in order to do so, we had to take a more qualitative versus quantitative approach in order to create the outcomes we wanted for customer success,” Bhattacharya explained. “We [also] had to identify different variables that impacted a customer’s success across diverse verticals.”
Above: Involve.ai’s customer success analytics dashboard.
The platform has managed to attract 22,000 paying customers in three years — revenue grew 480% in 2021 from 2020 — but Bhattacharya hopes to reach 200,000 customers by 2023. In the coming months, Involve plans to deploy new AI-driven workflows and enhance its renewal sentiment classifier, which parses natural language to find insights potentially valuable to customer success.
“Involve solves the massive loss companies face resulting from bad customer experiences: Companies are experiencing high pressure to retain customers and reduce churn, made especially challenging amidst the pandemic and even more important with the rise of the subscription economy,” Bhattacharya said. “Every customer matters post-COVID, so companies are finding ways to prevent churn, increase expansion and give an excellent customer experience to every customer, which increases the value of our platform.”
Involve, which currently has 34 employees, aims to have 58 by the end of the year and 120 by mid-next year. The latest funding round brings the company’s total raised to $35 million to date.
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