Oracle Corporation, TA Associates and Camelot Lead $27.5 Million Venture Financing for NativeMinds Natural Language Solutions
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 1, 2000 - NativeMinds, Inc., a leading provider of software and services to create automated natural-language customer service and sales representatives for the Web, today announced that it has raised $27.5 million in venture financing. TA Associates, a premier venture firm with $3 billion under management, led the round, in which Oracle, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Capital Partners, Horizon Ventures, Camelot Ventures, and former investors Silicon Valley Band of Angels, participated.
NativeMinds has developed a comprehensive suite of products and services for building and deploying Web-based virtual sales and service representatives as the effective first-line of online customer service and support. Virtual representatives – or vReps™ for short – are automated online personalities that engage and support online customers in the same way human sales representatives do at leading brick-and-mortar companies – via fast, informative and personable conversation using plain English. vReps increase online revenues and decrease support costs by providing real-time 24/7 customer service at the point-of-purchase at a fraction of the cost of higher cost support channels such as phone, email and live chat.
Current NativeMinds customers include Oracle, Proctor & Gamble, SmithKline Beecham, Convergys, and Deutsche Telecom subsidiary, and One 2 One Wireless.
"Having used the technology in-house for a year, we know first-hand what benefits it delivers to employees and customers," said Laurent Sandrolini, Managing Director, Oracle Venture Fund. "NativeMinds delivers the best solution for front-line customer service – one that any serious online enterprise will be compelled to adopt."
At the core of the NativeMinds' vRep solution is the NeuroServer platform: a sophisticated context sensitive pattern-matching engine, scalable server, integrated development environment, reporting and analysis tools, and robust plug-in architecture for integrating virtual service representatives with existing enterprise information systems, such as CRM packages and eCommerce platforms. NativeMinds will use this latest round of funding to significantly increase Sales, Marketing and R&D efforts.
"More than NativeMinds' practical approach to delivering a viable business solution to market, the company's growth, marquis customers, and demonstration of its significance as a key component of next generation e-business convinced us of the prudence of our investment," said Kurt Jaggers, TA Associates XXX. "NativeMinds' vRep solutions are far ahead of the many natural language companies cropping up, both in their application and viability. We're very excited to back a market leader that has established the benchmark in its category."
"Whereas most ‘Net companies struggle with defining a true value proposition, NativeMinds has a product that delivers immediate, tangible benefits," said Robert Antoniades, XX of CIBC Capital Partners. "Not only does the product solve real problems by reducing contact center costs and improving the online transaction experience, but it also integrates with systems key to eBusiness success. This integration capability places NativeMinds firmly in the echelon of those few companies enabling the Internet economy."
"NativeMinds, with its vRep's human-like, natural language interaction, is clearly the industry leader and represents the future of Tier Zero online customer service," said David Katzman, Managing Partner of Camelot Ventures. "The quality of a company's sales and customer service solution are vastly improved and their operating costs are dramatically reduced by using this product".
"NativeMinds' ability to attract significant funding from some of the most astute and respected investment firms and eCommerce companies validates both our virtual representative technology and our business model," said Walter Tackett, NativeMinds CEO and co-founder. "With this additional capitalization, we're now positioned to advance to the next level of company development and fulfill our mission as a significant force in the eCommerce infrastructure market."
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