– USA, NY – Kasisto, provider of a conversational artificial intelligence platform for enterprise mobile applications, today announced it has secured $2.25 million in seed funding. The round was led by New York Angels with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, the Partnership Fund for New York City, the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, Harvard Business School (HBS) Alumni Angels of New York, and prominent financial service executives and entrepreneurs, including Cristobal Conde (former CEO of SunGard), and Larry Ng (founder of MoneyLine Telerate and TradeWeb). These new investors join two existing shareholders: SRI International, an R&D and innovation center and creator of Siri, and BBVA, a global financial services group.
“We are thrilled to receive support from investors with such deep knowledge and connections in the financial services industry. The tremendous interest we received in this round validates our mission to enable businesses to radically simplify and enhance consumers’ daily lives through virtual specialists,” said Zor Gorelov, CEO and co-founder, Kasisto.
A spin-off venture from SRI International, Kasisto leverages SRI’s leading-edge artificial intelligence technology to deliver a new generation of mobile virtual personal assistants, virtual specialists, that help consumers perform tasks requiring deep knowledge of a service and the consumer’s relationship with that service. Kasisto is initially focusing on the financial services vertical and currently working with a number of the world’s top banks to pilot virtual specialists for their mobile banking applications.
Virtual specialists can seamlessly perform more complex transactions on mobile devices through speech, text and touch. For example, in a banking application, a consumer can simply ask the virtual specialist to pay a credit card bill from her checking account. The virtual specialist would detect if the funds in checking were insufficient and proactively offer to move money from savings to checking to avoid any overdraft fees.
The funding round is the latest milestone in Kasisto’s rapid progress, including being selected as an inaugural participant in the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator Fund, a program announced today for technology companies building innovative customer experiences in financial services.
“We’re excited to be investing in Kasisto through our Startup Accelerator. It represents precisely the technology innovation we want to bring to our customers,” said Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of Wholesale Services at Wells Fargo.
Kasisto was also recently recognized as a participant in the highly selective 2014 FinTech Innovation Lab, a 12-week program in which an elite group of growth technology companies are selected to be mentored by senior executives from the top financial services companies and some of New York’s leading entrepreneurs and technology luminaries. The Lab was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2010.
Joining Kasisto’s team of seasoned entrepreneurs and experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence are two new Board of Directors members: Jeffrey Seltzer, a board member of New York Angels and veteran financial services executive, and William Mark, vice president, Information and Computing Sciences at SRI International.
“The most powerful technology companies in the world, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, are deploying virtual personal assistants to make it easier and faster for consumers to access Internet services on their smartphones,” said Seltzer. “Kasisto’s technology and products help financial institutions level the playing field with virtual specialists that seamlessly add intelligent conversational capabilities to their mobile apps.”
Kasisto, Inc. is an SRI International spin-off offering intelligent conversational capabilities through branded virtual specialists to dramatically improve usability of enterprise mobile applications. Kasisto’s conversational artificial intelligence platform offers a comprehensive technology stack, including speech recognition, natural language understanding and generation, and artificial intelligence reasoning. Kasisto’s user interface provides multi-modal capabilities that let consumers easily and quickly access information and perform simple and complex tasks using voice or text on their smart devices. The company leverages decades of research and development in artificial intelligence by SRI International.
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