Autonomous animation platform Soul Machines has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round led by Temasek, with new participation from Lakestar and Salesforce Ventures along with existing investors Horizons Ventures, University of Auckland Inventors Fund and others, the company announced on Thursday (Jan. 9).
The New Zealand startup is working to re-imagine the human-machine connection with digital versions of company ambassadors or all-digital employees that interact with customers. The company said it is the first human experience platform that “automates and personalizes digital interfaces at scale.” With the new funds, Soul Machines will continue growing worldwide and will hone in on R&D.
The startup launched in 2016 after being spun out of the University of Auckland. It was founded by Academy Award winner Mark Sagar and serial entrepreneur Greg Cross, who are working together to fuse artificial intelligence (AI), computational brain models and experiential learning.
“We have enjoyed getting to know and work with the teams at Temasek, Lakestar and Salesforce Ventures, and believe they are the perfect partners to help as we continue to expand and grow our business, technology and client base globally,” said Greg Cross, co-founder and chief business officer of Soul Machines. “We are very grateful for the continued support from Horizons Ventures, who are highly valued partners that understand how great technology businesses are built.”
The company is on a quest to introduce a new level of human experience across all digital platforms. Its HumanOS platform has created what it calls “digital heroes” for global brands in retail, automotive, banking and finance. Customers include Procter & Gamble, Bank ABC, The Royal Bank of Scotland and more.
“We’re proud to announce Salesforce Ventures’ investment in Soul Machines because it has an obsessive focus on improving customer experience by using artificial intelligence technology in new ways,” said Rob Keith, head of Salesforce Ventures in Australia. “We look forward to continuing to work with Soul Machines as it scales and realizes its global aspirations.”
Call centers are increasingly turning to AI. The global call center AI market is projected to increase at 28.5 percent CAGR between 2019 and 2024.