How these IIM grads are automating the service desk for 500M employees across the globe with their SaaS startup
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, SaaS startup’s website was seeing organic website traffic of 1,500 a month. However, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and people working remotely, the traffic started rising. So much so that by June 2020, it touched 7,000 prospects, and then 15,000 in August.
“All these users or prospects were interested in what Rezolve AI had to offer”, says Saurabh Kumar, Co-founder and CEO of US- and India-based Rezolve AI, a smart service desk SaaS product that offers ‘resolution as a service’, in a conversation with YourStory.
Started in 2017 by IIM Bangalore alumni Saurabh Kumar, Manish Sharma (Chief Business Officer), and Udaya Reddy (CTO, Head of Product and Engineering), US and India-based Rezolve AI is an AI-led, automated employee service desk. The startup aims to disrupt the IT support market by improving employee servicing experience and satisfaction through its automated query resolution software.
Founders of Rezolve.ai
Saurabh explains that the team at Rezolve.ai is using AI to automate L1 support that will essentially help organisations in cost-cutting by reducing human involvement. Rezolve AI’s smart service desk provides smart chatbot, conversational ticketing, intelligent knowledge management, seamless live agent chat, morsel microlearning, and auto resolution skills, which the founders explain is at Level 1 or the first support line.
The startup is based in California, with offices in Chennai, Dehradun, and Toronto. It has a team of more than 50 team members, with most of them based in India, and is backed by investors including Tri-Valley Ventures, Venture Catalyst, Pentathlon VC, SLO Seed, and Sand Hill Angels.
Saurabh, Manish, and Udaya became friends while studying at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore in 1999 and went on to pursue their corporate careers after completing MBA.
Udaya stayed close to product and technology in places like IBM, and most recently, was CTO at Accenture before starting up. On the other hand, Manish went into sales and marketing in the US and led various market and growth teams at Infosys, iGate, and Tech Mahindra. And, Saurabh worked inside large enterprises in senior technology roles at places such as Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas. The three co-founders were buying, selling, and implementing hundreds of millions worth of technology every year.
Udaya ran the ServiceNow platform and understood how current technology leaders were limited to only tracking issues not solving them. Meanwhile, Manish was doing deals to outsource service desk and implement service desk platforms, and realised how expensive and labour-intensive the whole process was. Saurabh was running internal IT service desks for companies — and dealt with the challenges of high cost and employee service levels.
Keen to plunge into entrepreneurship and having gained an understanding of the challenges of the service desk, the trio concluded that the service desk industry needed to be disrupted, and they decided to start Rezolve AI.
What differentiates Rezolve AI?
Saurabh explains that the legacy industry focuses the product on agents while Rezolve AI is built for end-users who are employees. He adds that traditional service desks are built for tracking tickets, but Rezolve AI is primarily built for auto resolution. “While traditional service desks don’t deflect any tickets, Rezolve deflects up to 45 percent of tickets,” says Saurabh.
He adds that while traditional service desk platforms need technology implementation and consulting to deliver outcomes, Rezolve AI offers to not just provide Software as a Service but also Resolutions as a Service. “Our collective learning platform will provide out of the box automations across the thousands of kinds of help employees need from day one,” claims Saurabh.
Speaking about the need for such a product, Saurabh says that all employees need support. He adds that any employee working in any company needs a lot of internal support — around internal policies, company information, housekeeping information, shared PowerPoint presentations, data sets, logos, and a plethora of things from HR, marketing, and finance teams.
“Usually, people walk over to someone next to them to get some help to call service desks or create a ticket, or drop an email, which is not really a good experience, and even costs a lot to the companies,” Saurabh explains.
This is where Rezolve AI focusses on “auto-resolving” most of the repetitive issues that employees face. According to him, about 80 percent of the spend in IT and HR service desks is on labour, and Rezolve AI is focused on faster, easier service at a fraction of the current cost.
The company claims that employees can get support within seconds by just having a conversation with the Rezolve AI app, and it helps employees by either providing the right information, triaging an issue, performing a task, or creating a ticket on behalf of the employee.
Competition and addressable market
Rezolve AI has two kinds of competition — legacy ticketing systems such as Freshdesk, Servicenow, Jira; and automation only companies like Moveworks and Aisera.
Saurabh claims that Rezolve AI is uniquely positioned against both of them. He says the startup stands out for being the only full-stack automation first player, and the product stands out for focussing on Microsoft Teams, which makes the startup’s addressable market too close to 500 million. He says that MS teams are now clubbed with Microsoft 365 pack, and that it has 200 million employees actively using it daily across the world, and this number is expected to grow to 500 million.
Rezolve AI is priced on a per employee per month model, which Saurabh says is very different from traditional service desks that are priced on a per-agent basis and have no incentive to reduce the number of agents needed. In terms of growth, Rezolve AI claims to have grown 400 percent in the last 12 months, which is on the back of the pandemic turning workplaces into remote workplaces.
The company has more than 30 enterprise customers, including four Fortune 500 companies across geographies including the US, Canada, India, and others.
“We are adding four to five customers a month and intend to 10x this pace in the year ahead,” says Saurabh.
Funding and future plans
The company has so far raised funding to the tune of $2.5 million in seed and a pre-Series A round from a clutch of investors including Tri-Valley Ventures, Venture Catalysts, Pentathlon VC, SLO Seed, and Sand Hill Angels .
Saurabh says that the startup’s execution was capital-efficient and has plenty of runway from the last raise. Now, it is looking to raise Series A round funding to the tune of $10 million to support its expansion and strengthen its technology, with an aim to grow 10x faster.
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