An AI algorithm helps this SaaS startup automate customer replies in a human-like manner
In a time of crisis, businesses are flooded with emails from customers. An automated message in this situation would not amply deliver the company’s care. But, what if an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm knows how to assuage the customer’s anxiety and keep them up to date with their query?
This is exactly what Mumbai- and Bengaluru-based startup AmyGB.ai is solving.
Customer success is very important for companies. You have the likes of B2B SaaS companies like Zoho and Freshworks, or B2C ecommerce firms like Amazon and Flipkart using technologies that can predict customer reactions and expectations.
AmyGB.ai’s founders Gaurav Bali, Sowmya Sriram, and Vikram Murthy wanted to use machine learning (ML) to help organisations handle their customers. They started up in December 2016, with an objective to empower companies to ’do more with less’.
The AI startup uses a deep learning solution for the acquisition and retention of customers on a long-term basis. Offering a sector-agnostic suite of products, its technology enables organisations to enhance their customer interactions.
AmyGB.ai’s proprietary engine, called ERA 24*7, understands unstructured data from emails, web chats, and WhatsApp messages as well as reads and extracts content from computer-generated or handwritten documents. This gave rise to the startup’s first product: MailERA, an end-to-end AI-enabled automation for email response management.
The founding story
During Gaurav’s stint as CEO of an outsourcing firm, he participated in a programme at Harvard Business School, which got him very excited by the idea of starting a venture of his own in the field of AI.
“Having already done extensive research in the field for my own company, I decided to take up the challenge of carving my own niche, which is to evolve the customer experience industry by building unconventional, deep learning solutions. While the whole industry back in 2016 was running after structured, decision tree-based chatbots, I decided to take the plunge into solving complex, business-specific problems using unstructured data,’’ he says.
Around 2013, when he was the CEO of an outsourcing company, Gaurav met tens of existing AI players in the market, most of them in the chatbot business. While they did try to keep pace with the shift in customer behaviour from voice to text and ease their journey to some extent, none was even close to solving the actual problems the industry was facing.
“While most chatbots did a decent job with structured datasets, the reality was that most of the existing conversational channels gave rise to umpteen amounts of complex, unstructured data, and there was little anyone could do about it,’’ says Gaurav.
That’s when he met Vikram through a personal connection. In late-2015, Vikram quit his job and built a robot advisory platform. An IIM Calcutta alum and techie at heart, joined Gaurav as Co-founder and CTO at AmyGB.ai in 2016.
The company’s third Co-founder, Sowmya, who is also the CMO of AmyGB.ai, comes from a marketing and consulting background. She was Head of Marketing with Kallows, a medical device startup focused on tele-medicine solutions.
AI solutions to customer response
Currently, organisations take days to provide a resolution to customer queries. Gaurav says AmyGB’s MailERA is capable of reading emails, identifying the customer’s intent, auto responding to customer queries, and providing a resolution within minutes. ‘’Organisations that have implemented this product have seen a phenomenal rise in customer satisfaction, raising the customer experience bar to new standards,’’ he adds.
The startup’s patent-pending Assisted Closure is an offshoot of MailERA2.0 and solves multiple queries simultaneously by understanding customers’ needs.
“This product shifts the power of query resolution to the customer rather than relying on a third party who is oblivious to the grievances faced by the customer. The aim of this product is to empower the customer to resolve queries on his own, enhancing his or her experience in the customer support journey,” Gaurav explains.
AmyGB’s VisionERA is format-agnostic and is a deep learning-based optical character recognition (OCR)/intelligent character recognition (ICR) tool that can read and extract unstructured text from computer-generated or handwritten documents with accuracy.
The startup follows the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model with a monthly per-user subscription fee. AmyBG’s first client was Reliance General Insurance in 2017.
“The success of our product and the word-of-mouth appreciation and recommendation from customers helped seal our positioning. Though, like every startup, getting our first three customers took a great deal of effort in proving ourselves as a reliable AI player,’’ Vikram notes.
Gaurav has invested $1 million in the startup, which is today a 30-member team.
The Co-founder notes that AmyGB is on its way to booking a revenue stream of more than a million dollars in FY2021 with its current portfolio of over 10 customers.
According to Gartner, SaaS is a $151 billion market as of 2020.
There are many companies attempting to solve small parts of a big problem in the customer support industry. There are several customer relationship management (CRM) solution providers like Zoho and Freshworks who also have AI to differentiate their products from other CRM providers.
The startup competes with HelpShift, HappyFox and Kayako.
“In the next 18 months, we want to launch in the US and raise capital for expansion,” Gaurav adds.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)