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Flybits raises $35 million to personalize customer experiences with AI

Knowing when and where a person is, was, and will be can enable magical customer experiences. That’s the founding premise of Toronto- and San Francisco-based startup Flybits, and it’s swiftly winning over customers — and attracting investors in turn.
Flybits today announced that it’s raised $35 million in series C funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Mastercard, Citi Ventures, and Reinventure, along with existing partners Portag3 Ventures, TD Bank, and Information Venture Partners. The fresh funding brings its total raised to $50 million, and it comes as Flybits notches 300% growth in 2019 and gears up to hire across sales, engineering, and business development teams and offices, including adding solutions engineers, sales executives, business development reps, and engineers.
“Customers are already used to seeing content and recommendations based on their behavior,” said CEO Hossein Rahnama. “Netflix and Amazon use just a handful of customer data points for their recommendation engines. But Flybits leverages an unlimited amount to create far more personalized and relevant recommendations than ever before, all in an effort to help financial institutions deliver real time lifestyle banking that gets at their customers’ deeper needs. This new investment will only continue to fuel those efforts.”
Flybits was founded in 2013 by Dr. Rahnama, a visiting professor of machine intelligence at the MIT Media Lab. His research in AI, mobile human-computer interaction, and data-driven services design informed the first and subsequent iterations of the company’s platform.
Flybits personalizes customer experiences by combining bank data, like balances and investments, with contextual data like location, weather, and calendar availability. This enables the firm’s customers to surface investment options for folks who received bonuses, for instance, or extend credit card holders access to exclusive lounges and travel insurance when they arrive at the airport.
It’s a three-step process. First, Flybits collates data from multiple first- and third-party sources into an ecosystem of plugins, which it augments with the aforementioned contextual information. Within Flybits’ no-code dashboard — Experience Studio — managers can source the contextually enriched data to create broad or targeted segments of customers, and tap a repository of templates to create customer journeys with offers, articles, social media feeds, surveys, polls, and more.
Another Flybits component called Concierge integrates with digital channels and sends alerts and notifications that promote relevant products, services, and offers. It’s available in the form of a fully customizable app and a turnkey widget that can be installed into existing apps with software development kits for iOS, Android, and JavaScript.
Before, after, and during campaigns, Flybits’ analytics dashboard records and surfaces metrics like reach, impressions, engagement, and top-performing plugins. AI and machine learning algorithms (from Flybits and companies like IBM and Salesforce) use the captured data to optimize future experiences.
The results speak for themselves, says Rahnama. One unnamed North American bank saw a 43% increase in user engagement after deploying Flybits’ tech, while a Latin America financial institution achieved a 164% increase in offer redemptions using Flybits.
“Personalization is mission-critical for all direct-to-consumer businesses in the digital age. Flybits’ integrated platform allows financial services firms to offer contextualized experiences, driving product awareness and adding significant value to the lives of their customers,” said managing director and co-head of venture investing at Citi Ventures Ramneek Gupta. “We look forward to partnering with Flybits in its next phase of growth as it continues to set the bar for hyper-personalized customer experiences.”
In addition to offices in San Francisco and New York, Flybits has a Toronto location that is overseen by cofounder Gerti Dervishi. Rahnama says this latest funding round will enable the company to grow its stateside headcount as it develops a plugin marketplace and commercializes Flybits’ AI and machine learning patent portfolio.
Source: VentureBeat

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