PolyAI secures $40M for its AI-powered voice assistant platform

Artificial intelligence startup PolyAI Ltd. today announced that it has raised $40 million in new funding from a group of investors led by Georgian. 

Twilio Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Point72 Ventures and Amadeus Capital Partners contributed to the Series B round as well. The round reportedly values London-based PolyAI at nearly $300 million.

PolyAI will use the capital to grow the adoption of its namesake AI platform, which enables companies to create voice assistants for fielding customer service calls. The startup says its platform can resolve between 40% to 90% of customer requests. The result, according to PolyAI, is that companies can significantly reduce manual work for their contact center teams.

AI systems usually have to be extensively trained before they’re deployed to production. An AI system designed to automate customer support operations, for example, must be trained on a large collection of customer support requests and answers. Assembling an AI training dataset can take months in some cases.

PolyAI says its platform is pre-trained on billions of customer interactions. As a result, companies don’t have to create custom AI training datasets, which significantly reduces the amount of effort required to deploy PolyAI’s platform. The startup says customers can create voice assistants in as little as two weeks. 

Another benefit of the company’s approach is simplified regulatory compliance. The custom datasets that companies create to train AI systems are in some cases subject to privacy laws such as GDPR. According to PolyAI, the fact that its platform removes the need for custom training AI datasets eases regulatory compliance.

Large enterprises often require the ability to field customer support requests in multiple languages. PolyAI says support for multiple languages can be added to voice assistants created using its platform without making major code changes. As a result, the process of customizing the platform to an organization’s requirements can be carried out with less effort.

PolyAI’s platform is gaining traction in the enterprise. The startup, which spun out from the University of Cambridge in 2017, says that its customer base includes FedEx Corp., Marriott International Inc. and other major brands. 

“We’ve seen over 5x growth this year alone,” PolyAI co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Nikola Mrkšić detailed in a blog post today. “As of this week, PolyAI has over 100 employees. We’ve opened offices in New York and California in addition to our home base in London.”

PolyAI will invest the proceeds from its latest funding round in go-to-market initiatives. The startup is also building a new developer tool, dubbed PolyAI Studio, that is currently in beta testing. The tool enables software teams to interact with the startup’s platform through a low-code interface. 

Image: PolyAI

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