California-based AI startup Avaamo has successfully raised $14.2 Mn Series A funding, led by Intel Capital. Other Investors who participated in the round were Ericsson Ventures, Mahindra Partners, Wipro Ventures, and WI Harper. Intel Capital director Arun Chetty, who led the investment, will join Avaamo’s board.
Avaamo will use the latest funding to expand its sales and marketing channels to meet the demand in the enterprise for conversational AI solutions in the growing global market.
With this, Avaamo’s total funding now stands at $23.5 Mn.
Speaking to Inc42, Ram Menon, founder and CEO of Avaamo, said, “One of our key differentiators with other AI solutions available in the market is that we have built domain-based machine learning models, a very powerful solution for AI services in these sectors. We’re catering to almost 40 countries now, and the funding will now help us penetrate our existing markets deeper.”
On whether the company is looking to customise its solutions for other sectors as well, Ram said, “The sectors we are currently catering to are vast and deep. For instance, in the financial sector alone, we provide AI-enabled deep learning solutions to mutual funds, banking, and insurance companies. Then, there are other sectors such as healthcare, telecom, and retail that we cater to.”
Avaamo Solutions: Meeting The Compliances
Founded in 2014 by Ram Menon and Sriram Chakravarthy, the Avaamo platform enables enterprises to deploy omnichannel intelligent assistants in the areas of supply chain, HR, sales support, claims processing, and insurance advisory. The company claims to have built new AI technology that automates judgment-intensive, multi-turn responses to complex, domain-specific customer queries with a high degree of accuracy.
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With GDPR to come into effect from May 25 onwards, Ram said, “While some hide their dirty secrets behind all the AI hype. The long-term success of an AI company depends on meeting the guidelines. We have spent a lot of money, time and skill on meeting the necessary regulations. While we already had HIPAA certification, a US healthcare data compliance, we achieved GDPR compliance two months ago.”
The company aims to meet enterprises’ demand for an AI-based conversational computing solution to improve last mile automation.
Fiaz Mohamed, head of Industry Solutions, Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel Corporation, said, “Intelligent agents are an emerging area that’s already impacting how consumers interact with enterprises while reducing costs and improving workforce productivity.”
“Because Avaamo’s secure architecture allows for easy integration with existing enterprise systems, combining its emerging conversational technology with Intel’s platform with a focus on AI can provide a disruptive platform for large enterprises,” he added.
In recent years, while a number of AI-enabled startups have jumped into the chatbot space, Ram said, “At Avaamo, we have recognised three major enterprise constants that needed to be accounted for: The majority of needed data remains in legacy enterprise systems, myriad sets of regulatory, compliance, and security requirements, and investment in existing systems of engagement. This differentiates our solution from other companies.”
“For instance, the word ‘Group Plan’ has a different meaning in different domains be it, insurance, mutual funds or banking. As humans can easily contextualise the meaning, we have done with our domain-based machine learning models.”
The Indian Market Scenario
As the verticals of insurance, retail, healthcare, and banking in India have already started adopting AI-enabled chatbots and other solutions, a number of startups have mushroomed in the space offering customised and differentiated solutions. There are also Amazon and other players in this space.
While Mintzip is set to launch an AI-enabled solution for personal finance, the Mohandas Pai-supported Absentia VR combines auto-rigging, facial expression, and locomotion generation with the possibility of blending and mixing existing animations to explore new avenues in animation and game design.
Similarly, the Ratan Tata-backed Niki.ai leverages natural language processing and machine learning to converse with customers over a chat interface and help them shop for products and services
Among other startups that offer AI-based solutions are Flutura, Uncanny Vision, Innefu Labs, Netradyne, Active.ai, staqu and Formcept.
An Intel India-commissioned report by IDC stated that 68.6% of Indian firms might deploy AI solutions by 2020. According to a study by Accenture, AI could add $957 Bn to the Indian economy, increasing the country’s income by 15% in 2035 by changing the nature of work to create better outcomes — a huge opportunity for AI startups.