Zinier, a startup that aims to use artificial intelligence to automate field service management (FSM), has closed on a $90 million Series C. The fundraise effectively triples the amount of venture funding previously raised by Zinier. It also comes just over 10 months after the startup secured its Series B.
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New investor ICONIQ Capital led the round with new participation from Tiger Global Management, and return investors Accel, Founders Fund, Nokia-backed NGP Capital, France’s Newfund Capital and Qualcomm Ventures LLC.
When it comes to valuation, Dhar told me the company is now “halfway to unicorn status.”
How it works
Andrew Wolf and Arka Dhar incorporated Zinier in October 2015 and started building out the business in late 2016. The company’s self-described mission is to help enterprises “work smarter and more efficiently with an AI-powered field service workforce.”
So many services (such as electricity and wireless connectivity) are provided on demand. To keep them constantly up and running, field service teams need to be able to move quickly. The premise behind Zinier’s SaaS (software-as-a-service) offering is that those teams are “slowed down by legacy systems and manual processes.” The company initially started out with a focus on the telecom industry but is branching out to other verticals such as utilities, power, and oil and gas with its new capital, according to Dhar.
“Our whole world is operated and surrounded by field service engineers,” he said. “But what people don’t realize is how much goes on in the back office.”
For example, Zinier’s ISAC platform helps match jobs with the most-skilled engineers for the nature of the work so that work is more likely to be completed the first time someone is dispatched. A high first-time-fix rate, the startup contends, is desirable because it saves companies money and time.
In its short history, Zinier has seen rapid growth. Its ARR (annual recurring revenue) quadrupled year-over-year and, according to Dhar, is expected to triple in 2020. Meanwhile its headcount too has surged, jumping from around 60 about a year ago to 240 today.
Besides San Mateo, the company has offices in Mexico, Singapore and Portugal.
Zinier also plans to use its new capital to “really drive expansion in those markets,” Dhar told me.
“We went for a very specific vertical as a go-to-market strategy,” he said. “There was an urgent need in the telecom industry but we’ve recently begun pushing on additional verticals, so in 2020 we’re going to really drive sales and marketing into those industries.”
Dhar contends its offering only gets “smarter with time” as its AI collects tangible and intangible data from engineers out in the field.
The space indeed is a hot one. For example,Salesforce acquired publicly-traded ClickSoftware for $1.35 billion last August. Zinier claims its differentiator is that it’s “the only startup going after the field service automation segment.”
Accel partner Dinesh Katiyar agrees.
“Zinier has consistently pushed the boundaries of automation,” he wrote via email. Field service technicians, as well as their back-office support teams, are able to spend more time “on meaningful work,” according to Katiyar, while Zinier “takes care of many of the mundane elements of their tasks.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias