Verloop, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer engagement automation provider, on Monday announced the closing of a $3 million Series-A investment round led by IDFC Parampara Fund, which invests in technology IP and innovation-themed start-ups.
Co-investors in this round included Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan and Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) Chairman Ranjan Pai.
Verloop is promoted by GrowthStory, the venture-builder platform founded by serial entrepreneurs K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh.
The funding will be utilised to enhance the Verloop customer engagement platform as the company expands its team and scales operations to address the global market for automated customer services and marketing, which MetricNet estimates is valued at $19 billion annually.
"Our conversational automation platform already works with more than 5,000 clients across the e-commerce, healthcare, education, and entertainment & lifestyle sectors in 37 countries. This investment is a striking endorsement from some of the savviest and most well-known names in the start-up and tech ecosystem and comes at a time when we are continuing to hire top talent and build further traction for the business," said Gaurav Singh, the 28-year old Founder & CEO of Verloop.
"People are seeking out a conversational experience with brands and Verloop helps organisations do this at scale. Over the past several months, we have undertaken an intricate assessment of the Verloop platform, its architecture and the product roadmap. We were very impressed at the way the team has built Verloop and are delighted to partner with Gaurav and his team. The use-cases they have built are very interesting and there is great potential for the product to verticalise and mine the potential for automated customer engagement across industries, across countries and across languages," said Jatin Desai, general partner, IDFC-Parampara.
"There have been a few notable success stories of Saas-based ventures from India and we believe Verloop certainly has the credentials to emerge as a leader in the conversational AI market, which is currently led by players such as Drift and Intercom globally," he added.
Gopalakrishnan said: "We are seeing a massive behavioural shift with people demanding personalised and conversational brand experiences. Large, growing organisations and celebrity brands will be hard pressed to meet this requirement profitably and at-scale as interactions run into multiple millions. This is where ML (machine learning) technology, coupled with human ingenuity, comes in and can help harvest the potential in these interactions. Verloop has built an easily scalable model to target a huge addressable market."
More than 120 million unique conversations have been processed since Verloop launched operations in late 2016. Verloop use-cases span marketing & sales (lead gen qualification, conversational campaigns, upsell and cross-sell, etc), customer support (automated helpdesk, personalised onboarding of customers, etc) and celebrity brand management (persona management, engaging with fans, pre- and post- launch, etc).
Clients who have leveraged the Verloop platform include Nykaa, Qtrove, Pipa Bella, Portea, Apollo Munich Health Insurance and Aadhaar Bridge.
Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa, said: "Since implementing Verloop, Nykaa has been able to clear more customer queries, resulting in greater post-purchase customer satisfaction. Verloop has also enabled us to respond to customers during live purchase and share product links, allowing us to deliver better assistance and beauty advice. This helps us to deliver an improved and personalised shopping experience to our customers."
The Verloop platform has also been used by some of the biggest stars in Indian entertainment, including Rajinikanth for his movie Kaala. Several other mainstream and niche celebrities, publication houses and entertainment magazines are utilising conversational automation to connect with fans and readers.
Verloop.io is a language-agnostic platform that already supports seven Indian languages, including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Hinglish. In addition, the company has developed a new messaging protocol and a patent-pending technology for bot-to-human handoff of conversations when it detects that the conversation can be better served by a human chat representative.
Verloop was part of the YC (Y Combinator) Startup School 2017 and has made numerous machine learning contributions to MIT Machine Learning libraries, Facebook ML libraries and other open source ML libraries. The Verloop team also delivered a presentation on mixed language (Hinglish) detection and understanding at a Bertelsmann conference in Hamburg.