Today we will be talking about funding. The process of funding is one of the most important stages in a journey of a startup, it tells what is the position of the startup in the market, how much do investors trust and believe in the idea of the startup. It is the funds that actually allow the startup to think of future plans of expansion, to think of spreading itself into other areas of business.
It is the funding through which the visibility of the startup is made in the market and business value is added. The COVID 19 saw that there we no major rounds of funding held. But since the economy is coming back in motion, we now hear the news of funding, or some acquisitions or mergers, or new innovative and interesting startups coming up.
A piece of news regarding the funding has come up. The startup, Skit, as announced on September 01, 2021, has raised USD 23 million in funds. This round of funding was the Series B round of funding and was led by WestBridge Capital. The existing investors of the startup also participated in this round of funding.
Those investors were Kalaari Capital and Exfinity Ventures, IAN Fund, LetsVenture, and SenseAI. Many angel investors also took part in this round of funding, which was Aaryaman Vir Shah of Prophetic Ventures and Angelist. The value of the startup post this round of funding has increased to USD 30 million.
The funds raised by the startup will be used to expand the startup in global and domestic markets, including the areas of the U.S and Southeast Asia. The portion of the funds will be used to enhance its voice automation platform.
Some of the funds will also be used in sales and marketing, building delivery capabilities, as well as research and development to quicken the process of innovation and in further expansion of the products of the startup, and even expand its team of 200 members.
In August, the startup even set its new headquarters in New York, as it found the area to be a mature market, which is ahead in technology adoption and has a high level playing for strong competition.
About the newly funded startup
Founded in 2016 by Sourabh Gupta and Akshay Deshraj, Skit is an Software-as-a-service (SaaS) voice automation company that enables enterprises to automate their call center operations.
It was earlier called as Vernacular.ai and has suite of speech and language solutions that enable enterprises to automate their contact center operations. With more than 10 million hours of training data, the product of the startup Vernacular Intelligence Voice Assistant (VIVA) can currently respond in more than 16 languages, covering more than 160 dialects and replicating human like conversations.
The startup, which is headquartered in Bengaluru, is currently serving different types of enterprise clients across various diverse sectors like BFSI, F&B, Hospitality, Consumer Electronics, and Travel& Tourism. Some of the prominent clients of the startup are- Axis Bank, Hathway, Porter, and Barbeque Nation.
The startup has been featured as one of the top notch startups in the Ciscio Lanuchpad’s Cohort 6 and is a part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community.
Some of the claims of achievements made by the startup are-
40-50% reduction in average handling time”
83% reduction in time to identify a new utterance
97% approval rate for smart suggestions
The mission of the startup is to become the leading Voice AI platform in the world.
The value which the startup follow are –
It believes that cultural fit always comes before the skill sets
The startup searches for the best talent who are deeply aligned with the values the startup follow
The startup claims to live by the values in the day-to-day work, and especially duringthe hard times
The beliefs followed by the satrtup are-
Customer First– The startup believes in keeping the goals of the customers in mind, investing in user research and then working backwards. The motto of the startup is Customer’s success is our success.
Take ownership and deliver result- The startup claims to take the ownership of the work and deliver results. It takes responsibility of the actions and the failures, and further make sure that no one repeats the same mistake
Bias for action– The startup believes in taking decisions quickly and acting upon them. It promotes action oriented behavior than discussion based work. It believes that A bad decision is better than no decision.
Strive for excellence– The startup strives for excellence, no matter what they do, they aim to become the best in that domain. They push each other for excellence and don’t stop until they achieve what they aim for.
Feedback– The startup believes that the actionable feedback can help all grow in their roles. The culture of the startup encourages continuous flux of feedbacks from and to peers.
The startup previously in May 2020, had raised USD 5.1 million in Series A round of funding, which was led by Exfinity ventures. Since that funding, the startup claims to grow its revenue by four times, while making its way into industries like banking, insurance, e-commerce, cosumer durables, travel and logistics and many others. The average order book has also been growing in CAGR of 200-300% every year.
What does the startup say?
Sourabh Gupta, the co-founder and CEO of Skit made a statement saying that call centres with a traditional voice based has become an expensive affair. Now, artificial intelligence and voice technology have presented an opportunity for enterprises to overcome this challenge and engagement at their customer care centres.
He further said that the customer naturally prefer voice call support over other self-service channels and this had increased the pressure on the traditional voice responses systems and support agents to respond to all the incoming queries.
He even told that the startup noticed Southeast Asia is a big potential market for the adoption of conversational AI. The important feature which he found attractive in this area was that it was a home to many languages and dialects.
What do the investors say?
Sashi Reddi, who is a venture advisor at WestBridge Capital said that the sucess of the startup in the largest companies of the country helps it gain a good position in the United States where there is a huge need for voice AI solutions.
The startup is innovative and has new to offer. Let us wait and see what new plans it has and how beautifully it can achieve them.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.