While general purpose chatbots haven’t shaped user interfaces as radically as early advocates like Facebook may have hoped, when used in a more targeted capacity, they have shown promise in building closer relationships between consumers and brands and making critical enterprise workflows more streamlined.
India’s Yellow Messenger operates a conversational AI platform used by companies including Accenture, Flipkart and Grab to communicate with employees and customers. The startup is announcing new funding as they officially launch their chatbot platform stateside.
The Bengaluru-based company tells TechCrunch they’ve closed a $20 million Series B led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The startup previously raised funding from Lightspeed India Partners, which led the startup’s Series A last year.
Semi-intelligent chatbots had a rough start but have become key parts of enterprise workflows in the past several years as the companies pushing them grew more in touch with their limitations. Companies like Intercom have helped lead the way, raising more $240 million to build out its customer communication platform that uses AI to push customer conversations along the most efficient routes.
“One in every three companies globally is implementing conversational AI and chatbots—the pull is irreversible,” Lightspeed India’s Dev Khare said in a statement.
Yellow Messenger has courted major customers in India and Southeast Asia but will use this Series B funding to expand their footprint and approach businesses in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific regions. The company has steadily prepared itself for broad international expansion adding support for more than 120 languages to its platform since launch.
CEO Raghu Ravinutala tells TechCrunch that one of his company’s central advantages is the horizontal structure of the platform that allows customers to tailor the platform to a bunch of different needs. The platform can help automate customer support and engagement but can also be used internally for managing HR and sales.
Yellow Messenger’s platform currently supports a variety of platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Slack, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.