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ConverseNow targets drive-thrus after $15M funding

Austin’s ConverseNow is a voice-based AI technology. Just after a year of raising a $3.3 million seed round, it has managed another funding. The startup got a cash infusion of $15M in a Series A funding round led by Craft Ventures.

The company’s AI voice ordering assistants George and Becky work inside quick-serve restaurants. They take orders via phone, chat, drive-thru, and self-service kiosks. Thus, freeing up staff to concentrate on food preparation and customer service.

Other investors for ConverseNow

Joining Craft in the Series A round were LiveOak Venture Partners, Tensility Venture Partners, Knoll Ventures, Bala Investments. Furthermore, 2048 Ventures, Bridge Investments, Moneta Ventures, and angel investors Federico Castellucci and Ashish Gupta were also there. This new investment brings ConverseNow’s total funding to $18.3 million.

As part of the investment, Bryan Rosenblatt, partner at Craft Ventures, is joining the company’s board of directors. He said in a written statement that “post-pandemic, quick-service restaurants are primed for digital transformation. He also said that they see a unique opportunity for ConverseNow to become a driving force in the space.”

Changing times for food industry make the AI fit right in

At the time when the company raised its seed funding in 2020, it was piloting its technology in just a handful of stores. Today, it is live in over 750 stores and grew seven times in revenue and five times in headcount.

Restaurants were some of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic. As they reopen, their two main problems are labor and supply chain. This is where the technology intersects.

The AI assistants are able to step in during peak times when workers are busy to help take orders so that customers are not waiting to place their orders, or calls get dropped or abandoned, something happens often.

It can also drive more business. ConverseNow said it is shown to increase average orders by 23% and revenue by 20% while adding up to 12 hours of extra deployable labor time per store per week.

Company co-founder Rahul Aggarwal said more people prefer to order remotely, which has led to an increase in volume. However, the more workers have to multitask, the less focus they have on anyone job.

Future prospects

According to the Grans View Research, ConverseNow is forecasted to reach $6.94 billion by 2025. ConverseNow is one of the startups within the global restaurant management software market. The new funding will enable ConverseNow to continue developing its line-busting technology. Moreover, it’ll also invest in marketing, sales, and product innovation. It will also be working on building a database from every conversation and onboarding new customers quicker. This step involves inputting the initial menu.

By leveraging artificial intelligence, the company will be able to course-correct any inconsistencies, like background noise on a call, and better predict what a customer might be saying. It will also correct missing words and translate the order better. In the future, Shukla and Aggarwal also want the platform to be able to tell what is going on around the restaurant. For example, what traffic is like, the weather, and any menu promotions to drive upsell.

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