Tired of yelling for a representative when chatting with bots when you call in for customer service at your favorite companies? This CEO is working to change that.
Deon Nicholas, CEO of Forethought, says that his three-year-old startup is built differently. For his company, he uses artificial intelligence software rather than automated decision trees.
“We know you’ve been burned,” said Nicholas. “But that wasn’t artificial intelligence. It was a lot more artificial than it was intelligent.”
The San Fransisco-based company offers a tool called Agatha that works with service agents to help them triage support tickets and resolve them on its own through the use of an AI software that gets smarter at anticipating solutions over time and using natural language processing.
So far, the company reports that they have resolved more than 500,000 claims automatically and investors have noticed, per Forbes.
In an announcement on Wednesday (Nov. 25), Forethought shared that it’s raised $17 million in a Series B funding round from previous investor NEA, Neo, Geodesic Capital, Sound Ventures, and Operator Collective, alongside high profile names like Sean “Diddy” Combs, LL Cool J, and Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, reports Forbes.
Formerly an engineer for Pure Storage and Dropbox, Nicholas launched Forethought — in 2018 — alongside ex-LinkedIn engineer Sami Goche. The two both appeared on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for enterprise tech in 2019 at ages 25 and 24. Later that year, Forethought was the winner of TechCrunch’s Disrupt Battlefield startup contest before raising a $9 million Series A led by NEA.
What has allowed nameable customers in tech — like Masterclass, Gusto, and Carta — to really connect with Forethought is their software that plugs into a company’s customer service and sales software to learn how past issues were solved and make better predictions about what an individual ticket might be about.
“Agatha is able to figure out when new problems start to arise and how to respond to them by listening to how [human] agents are responding,” said Nicholas.
According to Forbes, investor, and actor, Ashton Kutcher shared that initially, he was skeptical about supporting another customer service tool, but he and the Sound Ventures team were impressed by how Forthought’s tech worked.
“It’s a headache so many of our portfolio companies have because with everything becoming 24/7, customer service has to be 24/7,” said Kutcher. “And it gets more complicated when everything is on-demand and everything is at your fingertips.”