Any visit to TechCrunch, VentureBeat, or even the Wall Street Journal will leave the average reader with a sense that AI is taking over a different part of the economy every week. There are an almost endless number of funding press releases and pitch recaps that read “Company XYZ is using AI and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks in the [insert name] industry.”
Within the constant stream of stories on AI, though, one task or function seems to stand out as a particularly frequent target – customer service. A number of early stage companies have set out to eliminate or greatly reduce human involvement in the customer service process using text chat bots, email scripts, and, in more recent years, increasingly lifelike voice assistants.
We have recently launched the first data co-op for small to medium sized eCommerce customers (link here). The Springbot Exchange allows for lookalike audience matching, and using our Audience Expander feature, retailers send drip email campaigns to prospects to grow audience. What is so critical about this new innovation is that it brings a capability that has been available for enterprise businesses with significant technology and team resources to the SMB segment, and levels the eCommerce playing field.
Beyond our latest innovation, I am also excited about the growth and development of the Springbot team. With 100+ employees, we are fostering, investing and collaborating with the next generation of entrepreneurs who will continue to contribute to the Atlanta technology economy.
After an active 2017 for investment in US venture-backed companies, momentum in capital deployed con nued in the first quarter of 2018 while the pace of companies receiving capital continued to decelerate. A total of 1,683 venture-backed companies raised $28.2 billion in funding during 1Q 2018, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of more than $20 billion deployed to venture-backed companies and the highest amount of capital deployed in a single quarter since at least 2006.
Our Forté Ventures team believes in data-driven decisions. We look for every data point that we can find on new companies when having investment discussions, we constantly press our portfolio companies on financials and growth metrics in Board meetings, and we look for trends in macroeconomic and industry-level statistics to drive our investment hypotheses.
This is not, to the relief of most, another primer on blockchain or cryptocurrencies, and it is not a breakdown on the difference between the two – I’d recommend that you go here, here, and here for those things, respectively.
Instead, this post is intended to answer some of the most common questions that our Forté team gets regarding the above topics. Fortunately, many better minds have already provided their thoughts on these topics, and I’ve provided links to prior articles and opinions below.
How do we make an autonomous vehicle see the road and plot the journey the way that we do? It’s a question that some of the best minds in the tech and automotive worlds have spent decades trying to solve – and one in which VCs have invested staggering amounts of capital. The answer remains incomplete, but most agree that the near-term solution will involve a number of inputs that all provide a piece of a vehicle’s larger navigational picture, just as human drivers use each of their senses in tandem to get from Point A to Point B today.
Calling 911 in the middle of an emergency is not an experience that anyone anticipates or wants. It’s an action that we’re taught as children and one that, when the time comes, we hope works flawlessly to bring aid our way.