At the Last Futurist, we thought customer service would be much more automated than it is today. There’s code for that. Cognigy is a Germany-based provider of a Conversational AI platform for omnichannel Customer and Employee Service Automation. They have $54 million in funding so far and could become an important B2B AI company.
This is not a sponsored post, I’m actually highly interested in this topic.
Artificial intelligence is becoming an increasingly common part of how customer service works — a trend that was accelerated in this past year as so many other services went virtual and digital and an apparent hustle of digital transformation occurred with a 5x growth in the span of a single year.
When Stripe became so much with a simple line of code in payments, one wonders if in AI small increments can create the next viable option in conversational AI? Cognigy is a startup that has built a set of low-code tools to help enterprises integrate more AI into their customer service processes is announcing some funding to fuel its growth. Suffice to say, that’s a viable business model for the 2020s and 2030s.
This is because automating customer service is highly scalable with a decent TAM. Think about it, it provides a low-code conversational AI platform that notably can be used flexibly across a range of applications and geographies — it supports 120 languages.
We are entering a world of ubiquitous voice assistance, RPA, chatbots and scalable conversational agents that will only get better with more training. Cognigy can be used in external or internal service applications; it can support voice services but also chatbots; it provides real-time assistance for human agents and usage analytics or fully automated responses; it can integrate with standard call center software, and also with RPA packages; and it can be run in the cloud or on-premise. It’s global prospects are therefore above average:
- Internal or External service apps
- Support voice or chatbots
- Provide real-time assistance for human agents
- Provide usage analytics
- Enable fully automated responses
- Integrate with standard call center software
- Integrate with RPA packages
- Run in the Cloud or on-site
Its recent Series B $44 million round was led by Insight Partners with participation from DN Capital, Global Brain, Nordic Makers, Inventures and Digital Innovation and Growth.
German AI startups are in some sense a bit under the radar. However think about its current customer base. concentration of customers in areas like transportation, e-commerce and insurance and counts a number of big multinational companies among its customer list, including Lufthansa, Mobily, BioNTech, Vueling Airlines, Bosch and Daimler, with “thousands” of virtual assistants now powered by Cognigy live in the market. It’s market valuation is private but growing fast.
You can visit its website here. What you will notice is how it can lower costs and help automate customer service as its sales pitch.
- Leverage the power of conversational AI better
- Cut contact center costs by up to 50%
- Over 400 major brands as clients
The AI startup can go global in the 2021 to 2025 period, and I estimate it will go IPO in 2026. It is one of the better younger B2B AI startups we’ve come across in 2021. With 25% of Cognigy’s business already coming from the U.S., the plan now is to use some funding to invest in building out its service deeper into the U.S., Asia and across more of Europe.
I believe automation really starts to pick up its pace in the 2025-2035 period and this company will have reached relative maturity by then. So the timing is really good and it needs to integrate the RPA side more.
So while chat bots fell a bit flat compared with the hype, conversational AI will improve exponentially in the next couple of decades. Think about the real world, conversational AI can also be a personal assistant on your company’s HR application to help you book time off or deal with any number of other administrative jobs, or a personal assistant that helps you use your phone or set your house alarm.
Cognigy appears to be creating a conversational AI stack for many different use cases and in many different settings. What is notable about Cognigy is that it has built a platform that is attempting to address a wide swathe of applications: one platform, many uses, in other words. A platform centric conversational AI can scale and keep adding features for different sorts of customers, businesses, enterprises and other hybrid domains.
I think Cognigy’s unique value proposition (USP) may be its convenience and ease of on-boarding. Cognigy’s other selling point is that it is playing into the new interest in low- and no-code tools, which in Cognigy’s case makes the integration of AI into a customer assistance process a relatively easy task. AI has to be convenient and made to plug-and-play in the real world, especially for the enterprise setting.
Considering the startup is only five years old it’s impressive its been able to land such big clients, it’s also like Palantir, an omen for its future success. Founded in 2016 by Philipp Heltewig, CEO, Cognigy provides a Conversational AI platform to support customer service automation. Its lowcode platform, Cognigy.AI, enables enterprises to automate contact centers for customer and employee communications using intelligent voice- and chatbots.
In theory, it’s something like Cognigy that will automate some sales jobs in the future. This is hard to fathom in 2021 given the dumb level of most voice-AI and chatbots. Cognigy would also become a Microsoft, Google or Amazon acquisition target for a juicy exit.
Insight Partners is leading the Series B investment. Its LinkedIn says it has around 70 employees as of June, 2021. This suggests it’s actually making money. That’s how it survived for five years. Keep in mind, the Dusseldorf-based company had previously only raised $11 million and spent the first several years of business bootstrapped.
Clearly the automation of customer service, many retail, call-center and sales jobs is coming. Customers and even shoppers universally prefer dealing with competent AI as compared with humans.
That’s just the reality of the future. Cognigy would make a Last Futurist Disruptor list, if such a list actually existed. If you agree with me, I invite you to follow their LinkedIn page here.
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