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Agara Raises $4.3 Mn In Pre-Series A Round Led By UTEC The funds will be used to accelerate product development, make strategic technology hires and expand into UK and Australia and plans to double its team of data scientists and machine learning experts at Bengaluru

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence (AI)-driven autonomous voice agent startup Agara on Wednesday announced to have raised $4.3 million in pre-Series A extension round led by Japan-based early-stage deeptech venture capital firm UTEC. The round also includes participation from existing investors Blume Ventures and RTP Global. This brings the total funds raised by the company to $7.5 million and includes bluechip investors Kleiner Perkins.

The funding will be used to accelerate product development and make a number of strategic hires in Agara's technology department as well as growing the sales and marketing team in North America.

The company further plans to double its team of machine learning (ML) research executives and data scientists in 2021 and also aim to establish its first pure AI research team at Bengaluru in 2021.

"Whether it is sales calls, phone support, or product feedback, voice has been the top choice for companies around the globe. We strive to be pioneers in the voice-first world. With the new COVID norms, we expect the demand for virtual voice agents rises manifold. Last year, we processed over a million calls and a million emails in 12 countries across every continent in four languages. With the new surge in demand, we are confident of increasing this number to over five million calls," said Abhimanyu, co-founder, and chief executive officer, Agara.

Founded in 2017, the platform develops industry-leading virtual voice agents that leverage proprietary machine learning models to understand intentions in speech, make sharp decisions to handle queries, and talk individual customers through to a resolution.

"As a deep-tech fund, UTEC was impressed with Agara's autonomous voice AI agent powered by voice-first applied ML algorithms and real-world data. Agara's product-led growth puts them in the pole position to be a category-defining enterprise voice AI company. We aim to supplement Agara through client and go-to-market partnerships with Japanese MNCs," shared Kiran Mysore, principal, UTEC.

The ML/AI-based system patents have been developed by the company's team to help its voice agents understand, classify and summarize to language. For instance, one of their patents in "controlled natural language generation' allows their voice agents to create meaningful dialogs without any human intervention, the statement said.

"Autonomous voice has applications beyond customer support and can stretch across industries and functions. We at Blume believe the day is not very far where autonomous voice agents will be ubiquitous. The Agara team has showcased tremendous deeptech expertise in building a cutting edge product that has been validated by the likes of Procter & Gamble (P&G). We are very excited to continue supporting the company and help make Agara synonymous with autonomous voice," stated Sanjay Nath, managing director, Blume Ventures.

The startup has been a revenue-generating business since its inception and the company now supports some of the largest global enterprises. This includes American multinational consumer goods corporation P&G, which helps to process customer support queries for 160 brands in ten countries across three continents.

The market in India for AI for speech recognition is anticipated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 65.17 per cent during the forecast period 2019-2024, and is expected to reach a value of INR 14.61 billion by 2024, said a 2019 report.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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