Meet NYC Startup Kasisto AKA Siri for the Enterprise



Siri certainly changed things when it hit the iPhone. Now Kasisto, the spin-off venture of SRI International, the creator of the Siri, are taking on the business sector, taking the virtual personal assistant to the next level by providing virtual specialists. The company is initially focusing in financial services and working to quickly perform complex transactions on mobile devices through speech, text and touch.

Cofounder and CEO Zor Gorelov gives us a look at what to expect when Siri’s sister, Kasisto, gets down to business.

Tell us about the product.

Kasisto offers a conversational Artificial Intelligence platform that enables Financial Institutions (FIs) to add intelligent virtual specialist capabilities to their smartphone and tablet apps. These virtual specialists possess deep knowledge of banking services and use state of the art Artificial Intelligence technology to make it easier and faster for consumers to access financial information and perform complex transactions. Using Kasisto products, consumers can simply say or type their request in natural language and benefit from unparalleled convenience when accessing banking services.

What differentiates it from your competitors?

Kasisto is the latest spin off from SRI International (creators of Siri). Kasisto licensed from SRI a very deep portfolio of Artificial Intelligence, Speech Recognition and Natural Language technologies. Kasisto leveraged these building blocks to create radically disruptive product and methodology for building conversational applications. FIs can enrich their mobile apps with intelligent conversational capabilities at a fraction of the cost and effort required by today’s market leading solutions.

What business of technical problem are you solving?

Despite massive investment and rapid adoption by end users, mobile financial apps remain underutilized and limited to basic banking transactions. This mobile app feature deficiency is costing US banks $2B a year. Kasisto enables banks to add many more features to their mobile apps and create feature-rich mobile banking experience using its Conversational User Interface (CUI).

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

Kasisto is targeting Tier 1 and Tier 2 FIs worldwide. The company’s products are applicable to a wide range of financial services, from retail banking to wealth management to commercial banking and brokerage. The company estimates that its total addressable market will reach $5B by 2017.

What facet of the enterprise mark are you selling to?

We are currently selling to the financial services industry. We are planning to expand to other verticals in the next 18-24 month.

What is the business model?

Kasisto is a SaaS business, with a recurring revenue model.

How smart is Siri going to be in iOS 8?

Apple continues to enhance Siri and make it smarter, which in turn drives consumer adoption of the virtual personal assistants. In addition, Google Now and Microsoft Cortana are innovating in the space. At Kasisto, we capitalize on the rise of the virtual personal assistants and build virtual specialists that have very deep knowledge of a given domain and as a result go further to help users get things done in banking and beyond.

Tell us about your experience as a Work-Bench company.

We are thrilled to be at Work-Bench (WB). The WB team engenders very strong sense of community among its participating companies. We share information, talk about prospects, help each other hire employees and even invite other companies to meetings with prospective customers. And the espresso machine is a real deal!

What are your thoughts on the future of the enterprise space?

Sophisticated products and deep technology are still required to meet demands of the enterprises across variety of industries. With that, the consumerization of IT and cloud computing changed this space forever. Consumer expectations are set very high and businesses are buying and using technology in new ways. At Kasisto, our number one priority is to build products with singular focus on end users – it is not about selling to banks it is, first and foremost, about making their customers happy. The sales will follow.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

Our priorities for the next six months are to focus on completing pilots that we are running with banks around the world and validating key assumptions and metrics associated with our minimally viable product.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

That’s an easy one. That would be Gary Vaynerchuk. We know each other well, share enthusiasm for wine and I am sure it would be a fun evening.

Where’s your favorite happy hour in New York?

While I do have many favorite places in New York, I don’t have time for happy hour (besides, Work-Bench’s happy hours are the best in town..).

About the author: AlleyWatch

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