Cisco LaunchPad

Cisco LaunchPad

Cisco LaunchPad portfolio startup revolutionises customer engagement through Conversational AI

Cisco LaunchPad portfolio startup revolutionises customer engagement through Conversational AI

Thursday May 06, 2021,

7 min Read

Chatbots are slowly turning into a relic of days gone by for businesses, and with reason. As tools designed to perform automated tasks and guide discussions, chatbot conversations aren't natural and lack human touch. This makes users frustrated, and they prefer to converse with a real person instead.

But on the flip side, with the advent of technology and on-call delivery, customers expect everything to be fast, easy, accurate, and personalised. This is where conversational AI comes in, making customer experiences simpler and superior, with intuitive interfaces, speedier responses, and natural, human-like interactions.

Conversational AI and virtual agents are at the forefront of customer service in India. Like, which recently got selected by the Indian government to build voice assistants and chatbots for the nation’s official app platform Umang.

Coming together to make conversations a two-way street is based in Palo Alto, USA, and Bengaluru. Its journey began in 2017 when Shridhar Marri, Krishna Kadiri and Ritesh Radhakrishnan came together to solve challenges that swarmed large enterprises.

With a career spanning over 25 years, Shridhar has always been at the intersection of technology, design and entrepreneurship. During his previous stint as VP of Infosys, he realised that existing frameworks and traditional solutions to enterprise challenges never really worked beyond the surface level. Moreover, customer acquisition, customer engagement and customer support was suboptimal, and digital transformation projects usually spanned across years with marginal benefits.

In 2012, Shridhar quit his job and took the road less travelled. Along with his colleagues at Infosys, he co-founded Moonraft Innovation Labs, a technology and design company, and later started with Krishna and Ritesh.

"Enterprises missed the bus in understanding and engaging the new-age customer,”

says Shridhar, Co-founder and CEO, “Primitive communication interfaces force users to spend a lot of time in search of relevant information before buying and using a product or service. In addition, outdated support frameworks are incapable of delivering a consistent and frictionless experience across user touchpoints. The times are changing and is leading this wave of transformation."

Enabling great conversation design is a full-stack conversational AI solutions provider. Using its proprietary Conversational AI platform A.ware, is building smart virtual assistants and voice bots with transactional capabilities. Ranked in the top 5 of the SQuAD2.0, Stanford’s Global Machine Reading Comprehension Leaderboard, the startup has been granted patents in the United States and India for its technology. assists enterprises at every stage of the bot development, right from conceptualisation to implementation to maintenance. It has built AI-powered bot solutions for over 10 industry verticals that address key challenges of enterprises from customer acquisition, customer engagement and customer support, thereby ensuring most stages of the customer journey are automated.

"We believe that Conversational AI and chatbots are a catalyst for innovation and positive change. We embrace a future where every organisation embraces this transformative technology to seamlessly drive meaningful conversations with their customers, employees and all other stakeholders," says Krishna Kadiri, Co-founder and CRO,

What makes them stand out works with more than 50 clients from multiple industry verticals, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Prudential Financial, SBI Card, RBL Bank, Nestle, Ministry of Electronics and IT (India), Axis Bank, Bosch, Laureate International Universities, Bajaj Auto, LIC Housing Finance, and Future Generali Insurance.

The versatility of its platform allows clients to harness technology in various ways, from generating quality leads, providing personalised product/service recommendations, cross-selling/upselling and more. It has also built an AI-powered smart search for a couple of large banks, which makes it easier for website users to find information up to 80 percent faster compared with traditional search.

Among other conversational AI products in the market, what makes stand out is its patented technology and NLP engine built to deliver an industry-leading accuracy of 96 percent. Their platform boasts of a zero-code bot builder, built-in analytics, with pre-built connectors for backend systems. Moreover, its solutions can be deployed on any channel of choice - web, mobile, apps, IMs (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Telegram), collaboration tools (Teams and Slack), wearables, and voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.

Building for India’s conversations

As part of India's larger strategy to connect with the 700 million+ internet users in the country, was recently chosen by the Indian government to build voice assistants and chatbots for the nation’s official app platform Umang. will build a voice AI that can address queries related to more than 200 services, including passport and driving license status, blood bank information and locations. "With several large players in the arena, it was a significant win for us. Our expertise in the enterprise space and experience of building complex bots that are trained on thousands of intents certainly helped us stand out among competitors," says Shridhar. was also named Cool Vendor in Conversational AI Platforms 2020 by Gartner. "Whether it is the pre-built intent libraries for 10+ industry verticals or the unique way in which our platform processes intents and entities to deliver an accuracy of over 96 percent, Gartner has focused on various facets of the platform that enable us to build highly sophisticated solutions in a matter of days instead of months," says Ritesh Radhakrishnan, Co-founder and CTO,

A voice support solution with Cisco LaunchPad

Earlier this year, became a part of Cisco LaunchPad, an accelerator programme by Cisco India that offers tech and tech-enabled startups an opportunity to be part of an innovation initiative that supports and nurtures co-development, co-creation, new business models and joint GTMs, among others.

"Our experience with the Cisco LaunchPad has been truly extraordinary. In addition to providing mentorship and guidance, the LaunchPad team also supported us with integrating our platform with their contact centre solutions. With its support, we have been able to build a voice-first call centre support solution that enterprises can use to improve customer experience and reduce the workload on their agents," says Shridhar.

With the product integration done already, the team is working with Cisco to expand its reach in the enterprise space. It has already started working with the collaboration teams at Cisco to explore opportunities. "Taking advantage of the unique benefits of the joint offering, we expect more enterprises to harness the power of the Conversational AI to improve their voice support processes," adds Shridhar.

The road ahead

From signing HDFC Bank as their first client in 2017, has come a long way. It currently has over 120 live implementations that are helping companies drive revenue, cut support costs, improve and enhance operational efficiency. "In the initial days, the biggest challenge was to drive the adoption of conversational AI as enterprises were sceptical, as is the case with any new technology. It was difficult to create a world-class platform while educating the market and build a business at the same time. We have been able to overcome this enormous challenge with a great team that believed in the vision and delivered on the execution," says Shridhar.

Krishna adds, ““The capabilities of our NLP engine have dramatically improved over the years. The accuracy of a bot to understand a query and take appropriate action is a dealbreaker for enterprises that handle millions of customer inquiries every month. One of our bots for a large Indian bank handles 10 million queries each month. Another bot is enabling an enterprise to generate 7000+ leads each day.”

In the next three years, aims to capture a larger market share in APAC, North America and Europe and grow its revenue by more than 100 percent YoY while being the thought leader in the Conversational AI space. Its R&D team is now working on a host of new products and use cases. "The launch of the AI-powered Smart Search late last year was just the beginning, and we will continue to innovate and create solutions that address business challenges for BFSI, education, healthcare, retail, FMCG and other sectors. As has been the stronghold of, we will be at the cutting edge of technology and create products that deliver superior value to our customers," says Ritesh.

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