By: Gene Marks
It’s not every day that large competitors become investors in the same company. This week, however, one CRM company attracted funding in a Series C round from four of the biggest: Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce and Comcast.
The venture capital arms of those tech giants – as well as a few other well-known VC investors like Accel Partners and Redpoint Ventures, plowed $27 million into UK-based Tact.ai, bringing the start-up’s total amount of capital raised to $53 million, according to this report on TechCrunch.
What’s so special about Tact.ai? Two words: voice recognition. The company’s technology uses artificial intelligence to solve a CRM headache that many of my clients consistently complain about: getting their sales people to use the system!
With voice-enabled technology, sales people can talk to their devices in the field and ask their CRM systems everything from sales history and email communications about a customer to providing more information about products, orders and preferences while on the go, in their car or just sitting in a conference room.
Tact.ai is designed to be a sales person’s personal assistant who’s on call 24/7. It automatically pushes deal and customer insights to the rep’s device and recommends the best next actions. It’s powerful voice features is capable of quickly switching conversations and knowing a user’s personal preferences as well as promising to let sales people carry on conversations and figure out solutions with it that aren’t necessarily linear or set to a specific script. And it will ultimately sync with powerful CRM systems provide by Microsoft and Salesforce while running on cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services. (Author’s note: my company, the Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft Partner).
“Sales professionals need a way to control their data and coordinate with people, whether on a phone, smart speaker, or in-car,” Tact.ai founder and CEO Chuck Ganapathi said in a press release. “We’re pleased to work with world-class investors and global companies like Comcast, Amazon, and Salesforce.com to execute on our vision of a conversational and voice-driven enterprise for sales teams.”
It’s no secret that Amazon, Microsoft and other large tech companies are investing heavily in voice automation technologies. Most of the attention, however, has been focused on consumer driven devices powered by technologies like Alexa and Cortana.