This NYC Startup Raised $4.1M so Humans and Machines Can Work Together


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a growing area, and for good reason. But where AI lacks, humans excel. Humans, sometimes to a fault, are great at collaborating and checking in on nearly everything to make sure it works. So doesn’t it make sense for the humans and AI to work side by side? This is just what DigitalGenius is doing to provide top-notch customer service for you. The company just raised a new round and is excited to continue improving their platform.

We chatted with Chief Strategy Officer Mikhail Naumov about Digital Genius and what their plans look like for the future.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

DigitalGenius has secured $4.1 million in additional funding. The funding round included participation from existing investors, Lerer-Hippeau Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, RRE, and new investors BloombergBeta, NovelTmT, Salesforce Ventures, Singularity Investments, Spider Capital, as well as several strategic angels.

Tell us about your product or service.

DigitalGenius brings practical applications of deep learning and artificial intelligence into the customer service operations of global companies. Its Human+AI Customer Service Platform combines the best of human intellect and machine intelligence enabling companies to live up to and exceed rising consumer expectations. At its core are deep-learning algorithms, which are trained on historical customer service transcripts and integrated directly into the contact center’s existing software. Once enabled, the platform automates and increases the quality and efficiency of customer support conversations across text-based communication channels like email, chat, social media and mobile messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and Telegram.

What inspired you to start the company?

DigitalGenius was founded to transform the customer service experience between companies and consumers through practical and innovative application of cutting edge machine learning and artificial intelligence.

How is it different?

While the whole world is raving about “chatbots” – the DigitalGenius “Human+AI” Customer Service platform is combining the best of human intellect and machine intelligence in a seamless experience, enabling companies to transform their customer service operation.

EEGX5A Munich, Germany. 18th Jan, 2015. MUNICH/GERMANY - JANUARY 18: Portrait of Mikhail Naumov (Digital Genius) during the DLD15 (Digital-Life-Design) Conference at the HVB Forum on January 18, 2015 in Munich, Germany. DLD is a global network of innovation, digitization, science and culture, which connects business, creative and social leaders, opinion formers and influencers for crossover conversation and inspiration.(Photo: picture alliance/Robert Schlesinger)/dpa/Alamy Live News

Mikhail Naumov

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

DigitalGenius is focused on helping transform the customer service operations of Fortune-1000 companies – including airlines, CPG, banking, utilities, and others.

What’s your business model?

The DigitalGenius “Human+AI” Customer Service Platform is deployed on a SaaS basis within customer service departments of Fortune-1000 companies.

Why does customer service lend itself well to AI?

AI and deep learning are perfect technologies to deploy within customer service operations for two reasons. Number one: a lot of the work in this operation is repetitive, therefore easily augmented with machine learning. The more important reason — as with any other company using deep learning – is the availability of relevant data.

In the customer service world – companies have accrued years of historical customer service records, in the form of live chat records, email transcripts, and social media conversations. DigitalGenius uses these robust datasets to train its deep learning algorithms and deploy within the customer service organization.

What was the funding process like?

As always – exciting, thought-provoking, rigorous, and valuable.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

We were raising during the Q4/Q1 tech slump. However – the machine learning space was not affected as severely as other areas for funding.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

It’s no surprise that customer service is largely inefficient. Therefore, practical application of artificial intelligence within a very large business function that is ripe for disruption was very appealing to our investors.

Furthermore, our focus on productizing the deep learning technology beyond research, in order to make it scalable and practical for businesses to use today.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

We are planning to take our product to market at scale. Both directly, and through strategic partnerships.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Build your product. Delight your customers. Measure results. Then raise capital if necessary.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

I see our technology being implemented across contact centers of Fortune-1000 companies.

What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?

I prefer nature to bars.

About the author: AlleyWatch

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