Following a rebrand, Toronto-based Wysdom.AI (formerly known as CrowdCare) has raised $8.5 million.
The round was led by ScaleUP Ventures with participation from existing investors Brightspark Ventures and Mantella Venture Partners. The company plans to use the funding to fuel global expansion.
“We’ve been monitoring the AI hype for the past few years, and have sought out companies with real operational experience in the market,” said Kevin Kimsa, general partner at ScaleUP Ventures. “With years of deep expertise behind them, the team at Wysdom.AI has timed the market perfectly as it reaches maturity. The company is solidly positioned to capitalize on the wave of enterprise demand that will happen over the next few years.”
Initially launched in 2012, CrowdCare automatically gathered and analyzed configuration and other device data to provide customer support. The company launched Wysdom.AI as an app two years later with $1 million from Mantella Venture Partners, providing a database for customers to get accurate answers to questions through chat. The company went on to raise $3.5 million later that year .
“As we shifted more, AI matured in the world as its own industry.”
– Ian Collins
Today, Wysdom still provides this chat feature, but also allows customers to get answers to their questions through social channels like Twitter and Facebook. Speaking with BetaKit, Wysdom co-founder and CEO Ian Collins says the name switch was a matter of reflecting the maturity of its AI; according to him, the company shifted its direction around 2013 after finding a dedicated team of machine learning experts. The company calls its model cognitive care, where AI is the normal medium of serving customers.
“We’ve shifted away from the crowd idea years ago, although we do gather a lot of data from the crowd theoretically,” Collins says. “And as we shifted more, AI matured in the world as its own industry. Our product name Wysdom captures exactly what we’re doing. It’s this system in the background that is super intelligent and understands customer need. It became a natural need for our business.”
Wysdom learns from the interactions in support, adding new questions and answers to its corpus. Wysdom grows and cultivates this unique dataset alongside businesses, and says that it boasts 125,000 specific customer questions and a 97.5 percent precision rate. The company said that it has serviced the enterprise from the beginning knowing that large enterprises are willing to pay for a solution that scales.
“Especially the large ones with 10,000 or more contacts and reps with billions in budget for customer service, they have the resources to pay for an organization like us that’s disrupting customer care.”
However, Collins doesn’t say that Wysdom replaces the customer care rep, but improves the quality of the experience. As a majority of calls go to a live person, this results in the rep prioritizing getting the customer off the phone as quickly as possible. With a high-quality customer care AI, it could decrease the amount of calls that must go to a live person, meaning that reps have more time to spend with customers.
“It takes a few years to finetune everything, get operational systems under control, and get your team mature,” said Collins. “Then you start to build a sales team and you start to ramp. We’re at the ramp stage where our sales team has grown significantly, we’ll continue to invest hard into sales, all the development teams are ramping fast.”
As for how the company differentiates itself from others that are cashing in on Canada’s AI hype cycle, Collins points to the fact that they’ve been working on the technology for five years with millions of end users. “AI has been beat to death, but the real companies out there with real customers are growing into a super hot market, so that’s where we find ourselves,” Collins says.
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