New Delhi: Active.ai, a start-up that makes Chatbots for banks, on Tuesday said it raised $8.25 million in a series A round led by Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek.

Chinese fintech group Creditease and Japanese venture capital (VC) firm Dream Incubator have also invested in the company along with follow-on investors Kalaari Capital and IDG Venture.

Kalaari and IDG, which had invested equally in the company’s $3 million round last November, maintain their shareholding.

While Vertex managing partner Ben Mathias and Kalaari managing director Vani Kola have joined the Active.ai board, Anju Patwardhan from Creditease has been appointed board observer.

Co-founder and chief executive Ravi Shankar said most of the funds would go towards technology development and research and expansion in the North American region where the company has recently signed some clients.

Active.ai (Active Intelligence Pte. Ltd) was incorporated in February 2016.

It is headquartered in Singapore and has a research and development lab in Bengaluru.

The start-up employs 65 people. Its core product is an NLP-based (natural language processing) platform called Triniti, for banks to automate certain functions, customer service as well as transactions, between banks and customers.

The chat platform integrates with the bank’s application and web interface, and also works on various app-based messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

Customers use the bot service to check the location of the nearest bank branch, send money, or even give instructions for a securities transaction.

“We are an omni-channel company. We deliver our services over existing apps on Android and iOS, about 10 messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WeChat- WhatsApp has not yet opened its API (application programming interface), we are waiting for that. We also do IoT, so we are available on Alexa and Google Home," Shankar said.

So far, only India’s Axis Bank has rolled out Triniti to its customers, but several banks in South East Asia and North America are at various stages of testing and integrating the product, Shankar said.

Last year, Axis bank invested an undisclosed amount in the platform as part of a strategic tie-up to use Triniti. Active.ai also has a similar partnership with Infosys, where the IT major has integrated the bot service with Finacle, a core banking application used by 600 banks across the world.

Triniti has been programmed to support Asian languages Thai, Vietnamese and Bahasa, besides English. Banks pay Active.ai on the basis of volume of conversations that take place over Triniti.

“The threat of fundamental disruption is very real in the financial services space, and companies such as Active.ai are making it easy for incumbents to not just remain relevant, but to get ahead in an ever evolving market. At Vertex, we have been strong believers in Artificial intelligence helping solve problems specific to industry verticals, and that has been a key driver of our decision to partner with Active.ai," said Mathias from Vertex.

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