Skedool.it raises seed funding
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Skedool.it, a smart assistant start-up, has raised seed funding led by Kludein Llc and a clutch of investors, including Phani Sharma (founder of redBus), Narayan Ramachandran (former country head of Morgan Stanley India) and Pranav Pai, investing on behalf of former Infosys executive board member T.V. Mohandas Pai.
The funding will be used to scale its product development, operations and hire new talent to boost its technology, the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Founded in 2015 by Deepti Yanireddy and Naveen Varma Alluri, the company has offices in the Bay area and India.
The company uses Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning supervised by humans to enable customers to communicate with the smart assistant via mail to schedule meetings and other activities.
“Business professionals spend an inordinate amount of time on low value scheduling activities. We developed Skedool’s assistant as a blend of Artificial and Human Intelligence that quickly and accurately handles all your B2B scheduling and calendar management needs for less than 5% of the cost of a full time executive assistant,” said Yanireddy, in a statement.
The company’s automated and artificial intelligence powered smart assistant, Alex, accesses the executive’s calendar and helps organise meetings and schedule other activities.
The company said that it is currently servicing customers in the US and Europe and these geographies will continue to remain its focus in the upcoming year. Skedool.it charges $99 per user per month currently. Skedool.it is looking to clock revenues of $1.5-2 million by the end of 2016.
The closest competitor to Skedool.it, is x.ai another US-based start-up that offers a virtual AI-powered assistant that helps people schedule meetings via e-mail, and has raised $11 million in funding since its inception in 2014. X.ai is completely automated, and is currently free to use.
Even Facebook piloted its own virtual assistant called “M” within its messaging platform Messenger in August last year. M helps messenger users with tasks such as finding and making restaurant reservations and finding gifts. M also uses a combination of humans and AI.
Although virtual assistant programs like Siri and Cortana, built into iPhones and Windows phones, have been around for a while now, task-specific AI-powered assistants which help in more precise ways have received considerable interest in the last year.