Last year at this time, Forethought won the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield competition. A $9 million Series A investment followed last December. Today at TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise in San Francisco, the company introduced the latest addition to its platform, called Agatha Predictions.
Forethought CEO and co-founder Deon Nicholas said that after launching its original product, Agatha Answers (to provide suggested answers to customer queries), customers were asking for help with the routing part of the process, as well. “We learned that there’s a whole front end of that problem before the ticket even gets to the agent,” he said. Forethought developed Agatha Predictions to help sort the tickets and get them to the most qualified agent to solve the problem.
“It’s effectively an entire tool that helps triage and route tickets. So when a ticket is coming in, it can predict whether it’s a high-priority or low-priority ticket and which agent is best qualified to handle this question. And this all happens before the agent even touches the ticket. This really helps drive efficiencies across the organization by helping to reduce triage time,” Nicholas explained.
The original product (Agatha Answers) is designed to help agents get answers more quickly and reduce the amount of time it takes to resolve an issue. “It’s a tool that integrates into your Help Desk software, indexes your past support tickets, knowledge base articles and other [related content]. Then we give agents suggested answers to help them close questions with reduced handle time,” Nicholas said.
He says that Agatha Predictions is based on the same underlying AI engine as Agatha Answers. Both use Natural Language Understanding (NLU) developed by the company. “We’ve been building out our product, and the Natural Language Understanding engine, the engine behind the system, works in a very similar manner [across our products]. So as a ticket comes in the AI reads it, understands what the customer is asking about, and understands the semantics, the words being used,” he explained. This enables them to automate the routing and supply a likely answer for the issue involved.
Nicholas maintains that winning Battlefield gave his company a jump start and a certain legitimacy it lacked as an early-stage startup. Lots of customers came knocking after the event, as did investors. The company has grown from five employees when it launched last year at TechCrunch Disrupt to 20 today.