Ada is on a mission to build chatbots powered by artificial intelligence. The company today is announcing a $19 million Series A that will go far in helping it reach that goal. The company sees the capital fueling international expansion and launching products into new verticals, as well as doubling down on employees.
Chatbots were a buzzword several years back. After the initial buildup and bust, the remaining players in the space are building upon the expectations set early on. Users of chatbots expect services to take actions on their behalf and perform routine functions quickly and efficiently. Likewise, companies are seeking solutions that exceed customer expectations, while offering features that allow the company to scale and expand.
“While many enterprises are choosing to invest in AI and automation,” the company tells TechCrunch, “the recurring investment of time and resources to implement, manage and improve highly technical solutions is diminishing the ROI. In turn, businesses are seeking inclusive and accessible platforms that empower non-technical support teams to build, manage and track the automated customer experience. Even among our own clients, we’ve seen the formation of some of the world’s first automated automation customer experience service (ACX) departments — made up of customer service professionals, not programmers — dedicated to building an automated, AI-powered customer experience. Ada’s automation is changing how people are working and the role of customer service by creating completely new departments, titles and roles.”
Ada sees the Series A capital as a way to expand the features built-into its products, allowing for a deeper level of personalization and customization — items that will go far with its clients. Launched in 2016, the Toronto-based startup expects to double its staff in the coming months. Right now the company has 70 employees and hopes to be at 140 sometime in 2019.
“2018 was an exciting time for the customer service industry,” Ada said. “Reservations about chatbots and virtual assistants are dissipating, as consumers continue to realize the tremendous benefits of instant, automated, self-service support. Their rising expectations have resulted in an industry-wide shift, with businesses changing from an ‘agent-first’ to an ‘automation-first’ customer strategy.”
The Series A was round was led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from Leaders Fund and Burst Capital, as well as returning investors Bessemer, Version One and computer scientist Barney Pell.
“Ada’s accessible and scalable platform lets non-technical customer service teams build and manage AI-powered chatbots to automate interactions. Ada has delivered transformational, measurable results to some of the world’s most innovative brands, helping them shift from a reactive, expensive support strategy to a proactive model that reduces customer effort,” said Matt Turck, managing director of FirstMark Capital, in a released statement. “Ada has played an important role in driving automated customer experience, and we’re confident in the team and the platform to surpass their rapid projected growth.”
The company is based in Toronto. When asked why Toronto, the company points to several data points, such as the city’s designation as the fastest growing tech market in North America and the recent announcements of significant new office complexes from Microsoft and Google .