AI-Powered Customer Service Platform Afiniti Raises $130 Million in Series D Funding

Largely flying under the radar, artificial intelligence-powered customer service platform Afiniti has quietly raised $130 million in series D funding for its technology, which uses AI and behavioral pairing to connect customer callers and agents. But CEO Zia Chishti is hesitant to tout the artificial intelligence behind the company, calling AI “just a bubble.”

“The intensity of interest in AI is unwarranted because nothing has changed. It’s the same algorithms and software, and we just have faster hardware now,” he said in an interview with TechCrunch.

Its technology works by evaluating the performance of specific customer service agents to identify their strengths and weaknesses during support calls as well as considering customer history with regard to purchases made, support calls made, and other interactions with the company. The software then matches customers to agents, depending on their likelihood to solve their specific issues. As Chishti imagines it, customer service interactions will remain “99 percent human,” with an AI layer supporting it.

Afiniti’s pricing model makes it a unique player in the space as well. Rather than charging customers on a monthly basis or per person, Afiniti charges companies based on how effectively its software routes calls. For customers, this means it costs nothing to try the service, but for Afiniti, it’s an ongoing challenge. “It means we have to continuously prove our value,” Chishti told TechCrunch.

It’s a long road head for Afiniti, which plans to file for an IPO soon. Chisti is no newcomer to the business world after cofounding the company behind teeth straightening business Invisalign, so he brings with him a network of investors and connections.

Afiniti’s investors in the new funding round include Washington Post CEO and publisher Fred Ryan, Verizon Inc. CEO Ivan Seidenberg, Global Asset Management, The Resource Group, and Zeke Capital, while previous backers include McKinsey and Co., media executive Elisabeth Murdoch, former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, and former BP CEO John Browne. The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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