Tact raises $15M to put conversational interface on Salesforce.com

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Chatbots are automating cybersecurity operations and speeding up recruiting, and now companies are starting to employ them as part of their sales efforts.

That’s being driven in part by Tact Inc., a five-year-old startup that today announced it has raised $15 million in funding from a group of big-name investors. Upfront Ventures provided the biggest portion of the capital while Microsoft Corp.’s newly refocused private equity arm, Accel Partners and Redpoint Ventures contributed the rest.

The investment follows a series of major customer wins for Tact that saw brands such as General Electric Co. and home care giant Henkel AG & Co. adopt its conversational sales assistant. Delivered as a cloud service, the agent allows business workers to interact with Salesforce.com Inc.’s ubiquitous customer relationship management platform using natural-language commands. It’s touted as a faster and more convenient alternative to manually managing lead information.

One of the tasks that Tact promises to streamline is recording conversations with prospects, which can be essential for planning future interactions when it comes to complex enterprise deals. The service is capable of automatically gleaning key information from phone calls and putting it into Salesforce.com along with the full contact details of the person on the other end. When a salesperson wants to re-examine their data, Tact’s natural-language interface makes it possible to access the desired records through the most convenient channel at their disposal. 

The service supports text commands, voice input and provides integration with Amazon Inc.’s Alexa virtual assistant. Today’s funding will enable Tact to add even more features aimed at improving the productivity of salespeople.

The startup didn’t go into much detail about its plans, but TechCrunch noted that Microsoft’s participation in the round may provide a hint of what’s to come. More specifically, Tact could use the new funds to extend its platform beyond Salesforce and introduce support for the software giant’s rival Dynamics suite. The startup likely would have added integration with the platform either way eventually, given that it’s one of the popular customer relationship management systems on the market.

Image courtesy of Tact