Agara Labs, a Bengaluru-based startup which uses deep learning in speech and text to automate customer support, has raised $2.5 million in a pre-series A round from homegrown venture capital fund Blume Ventures and RTP Global, a Russian VC fund, the startup said Friday.

It had also raised a seed funding round from US-based marquee VC firm Kleiner Perkins in 2017.

Founded in 2017 by Abhimanyu Singh, Pankaj Gupta and Arjun Maheswaran, Agara automates end to customer support operations for even the most complex kinds of queries. It achieves this by training sophisticated deep learning models on over 10 million historical customer support queries and other proprietary data sources.

The company’s flagship product, Sia, is a fully autonomous phone support agent which can directly field calls with customers and handle their problems just the way a human agent would. It understands everything the customer says, processes it in real-time and responds to them in natural language.

“We intend to utilize the funds for two primary purposes. The biggest investment will go towards building our teams in deep learning, engineering and North America sales," said Singh in a phone interview. “A second sizeable chunk will go towards product development expenses including acquiring high performance computing setups," he added.

Agara currently employs 18 people of which almost half are data scientists. It plans to double the size of the team over the next 9-12 months while keeping the composition similar.

Agara’s clients currently are largely US-based consumer goods firms such as Procter & Gamble and other consumer firms, and currently powers all of their email support in North America and the United Kingdom.

“United States (and to a slightly lesser extent, Europe) is the most mature and prepared market for the kind of advanced AI products we build. Hence, we will continue to focus on these markets for the time being," Singh said.

Sanjay Nath, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures, said, "Agara Labs’ seasoned technical team, focus on ‘deep tech for global markets’ fits in well with our new fund’s focus areas. They have created competitive technology from an India based team, targeted at a demanding global audience of Fortune 500 enterprises."

Deep tech generally involves the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) in products and services.

RTP Global, known as Ru-Net until recently, has backed Indian startups such as Snapdeal, Practo and Rebel Foods, best known for its Faasos brand of internet kitchens.

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