Back in September, a crew of startups hopped on stage at TC Disrupt to convince investors that they are the next big disruptive technology. The team behind Forethought managed to win the competition, raking in a $100,000 check for its natural language understanding (NLU) platform. Disrupt may have given Forethought just the push it needed.
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Today, the company is announcing that it raised a $9 million Series A round led by New Enterprise Associates. Forethought aims to bring NLU technology to the enterprise space to help what it calls “knowledge professionals,” like customer service representatives, answer questions more confidently and quickly.
“We built an AI that can index information […] and then deliver answers to employees before they even ask for it,” Deon Nicholas, CEO and founder of Forethought, told Crunchbase News.
Forethought’s software indexes past tickets, macros, internal document, and knowledge-base articles to form a dataset that its artificial intelligence software sources information from. Agatha, the name for its new platform, integrates with help desk software like Salesforce and Zendesk. It also suggests answers for customer representatives. However, the company is focused not on replacing those individuals, but rather making their jobs less tedious.
“We actually believe in augmenting people rather than replacing them,” Nicholas expressed. “That’s why we focus not necessarily first and foremost on automating the customer support experience, but rather, on boosting agent productivity and helping them get access to the answers [and information] they need.”
Since winning the Battlefield competition at TC Disrupt, Forethought has doubled its team to ten employees. The company sees a lot of opportunity in the customer service space.
“Within customer support, beyond just answers, agents and managers are very interested in analytics, understanding their data, understanding what questions are being asked and answered, and how those relate to the customer satisfaction score,” Nicholas said. He also mentioned that ticket classification and workflow management are fair game for the company.
Beyond customer service, Nicholas sees use cases in sales, HR, and IT, but for now, the company is doubling down on its R&D efforts in customer service.
“We’re still scrappy and trying to focus ruthlessly on building something people want, focusing on product market fit, and just putting together the team to help us get there.”
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