The software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, Uniphore, said on Wednesday that it has raised $140 million in a Series D funding round, its largest till date, led by venture capital firm Sorenson Capital Partners. The funding would help the company focus on newer technologies in front office automation.
The latest round of financing also had participation from new investors from Europe and the Middle East, such as Serena Capital, Sanabil Investments, and Cisco Investments. March Capital Partners, National Grid Partners, Chiratae Ventures, Iron Pillar Fund, and Sistema Capital also participated in the funding round, Uniphore said in a statement, adding that the company has raised a total of $210 million so far.
The company will utilise the fresh capital to ramp up its technology base in areas such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), automation, and machine learning. This will also include a focus on video-based A.I. applications stemming from Uniphore’s acquisition of Spain-based Emotion Research Lab earlier this year. Emotion Research Lab develops software that uses A.I. and machine learning to identify emotion and engagement levels in real time over video-based interactions. Last year in October, Uniphore acquired an exclusive third party licence for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology from the Japanese multinational system integration company, NTT DATA, to drive innovation in the front office automation space.
Office automation is essentially the movement of data without any human intervention, inaccuracies, or errors. And a front office represents all the customer-facing roles of a firm, such as customer service, sales, marketing, advisory experts, etc. It is this arena that has, of late, witnessed a boom in the involvement of A.I. and robotic processes.
“Given the rapid digital transformation happening across the enterprise, the need for automated and intelligent solutions to help drive new business models has never been greater. We saw this years ago and have been delivering innovation to areas such as contact centres, to enable better customer experiences,” says Umesh Sachdev, CEO and co-founder, Uniphore.
Uniphore points out that 2020 accelerated digital adoption for every company. Market data shows that organisations increased their reliance on contact centre agents to service customer needs remotely in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Uniphore added that last year it won large deals from telecom providers, insurance companies, and financial services players. Additionally, it also won contracts from clients such as Tech Mahindra, NTT DATA, Sitel, WNS, and others. “These deals and others can support over 75,000 customer service agents who can handle approximately 160 million engagements every month,” Uniphore noted in its statement.
In the call centre or customer service industry, fast response and adherence to timelines are key. Uniphore helps clients become more cost-effective and time-efficient by minimising human intervention and error.
In its early years, Uniphore primarily provided its speech recognition and voice biometrics technology to rural-focussed financial services companies and banks; they had to help their customers, with limited literacy levels, carry out transactions remotely. But a shift took place in 2014 when Uniphore raised its first institutional funding. Today, it caters only to large enterprises across markets and sectors, such as e-commerce, cab-hailing services, telecom, airlines, and FMCG. Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) clients contribute the largest chunk in terms of revenue.
“As a leading investor in transformational enterprise technology, we were very impressed by the Uniphore team and what they have been able to do for customers and the broader market,” says Rob Rueckert, managing partner at Sorenson Capital.
In 2018, Uniphore set up a base in Palo Alto, California. While Chennai continues to be its headquarters, operations are run out of Uniphore’s U.S. offices, with Singapore as its APAC hub.