Make speech click again

As large enterprises aspire to transform the customer support functions by using artificial intelligence tools to deliver quicker solutions, Chennai based Uniphore Software Systems is hoping to make a mark in this space.

Calling up customer care is the first instinct we have when we encounter an issue with our appliances or vehicles. Often, that experience is not very fruitful for both the customer and the enterprise.

This is the problem that Chennai and Palo Alto-based conversational AI company Uniphore is making an attempt to solve with the aid of AI tools. 

As large enterprises aspire to transform the customer support functions by using artificial intelligence tools to deliver quicker solutions, Chennai based Uniphore Software Systems is hoping to make a mark in this space.

The company plans to use speech recognition technology and other AI tools to change the front end of call centres, a top executive of the company told DH.

The startup that recently raised $51 million in the latest round of funding from a clutch of investors including March Capital Partners and Chiratae Ventures is planning to use the money to expand across the world. Ravi Sarogi, the co-founder of the firm says, “Though a lot of change has happened in the back offices of call centres over the years, with the advent of artificial intelligence and new tech tools, the front end has remained the same. We see this space as a huge opportunity to make a change.”

He adds, “This is a $350-billion industry and we are hopeful of spreading to more geographies and hiring more people to create solutions that make machine experience easier for the customer and the large enterprises. We want to deliver more useful support while decreasing the number of bad experiences one may encounter.”

Ravi says that the company that was founded by him and his collegemate Umesh Sachdev at the IIT Madras incubation centre in 2008 aims at touching the $100 million mark in revenues in the next two and a half years.

“At the moment, most of our revenue is split evenly between India and the rest of Asia (50%) and the US,” he said.

Apart from a clutch of startups, their main competitors in the field are tech behemoths Google, Microsoft and IBM.

Ravi says, “One of the biggest boosts to our idea came when former Cisco Chairman John Chambers backed our idea and came on board. That gave us a lot of confidence.”

Uniphore’s solutions are aimed at extending the power of speech to revolutionise human-machine interaction and allow any software application to understand and respond to natural human speech. The company’s solutions include voice biometrics, virtual assistant and speech analytics.

As the company closes in on the $1 billion valuation mark to join the growing club of Indian unicorns, Ravi is circumspect. “It is a landmark, but we aim to get much bigger. At the moment, we are happy being in the B2B space.”

Uniphore aims at using the power of speech to revolutionise human-machine interaction and allow software applications to understand and respond to natural human speech.

“We are presently dealing in multiple domains and mainly aim at making it easier for large enterprises to talk to customers.” The company is planning to scale up fast around the world.

“ We are looking at expanding in the US, Australia and New Zealand and plan to set up base in emerging markets in South America, Africa and West Asia as well. We are aiming at getting the top spot in these markets soon,” says Ravi.

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