ConverseNow, the leading voice AI technology platform for restaurants, has closed a $10 million fundraise in partnership with Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI), the growth equity fund cofounded by Danny Meyer, the founder of Union Square Hospitality Group and Shake Shack. This adds to their $15 million Series A closed last year, led by Craft Ventures, to bring ConverseNow’s total funding to $28.8 million.
ConverseNow’s groundbreaking voice AI technology has reshaped the future of restaurants, whereby virtual assistants automate the order-taking process so overburdened staff can turn their attention to fulfillment and in-person service. In an increasingly challenging landscape for restaurants, ConverseNow has become a miracle pill that creates a win-win-win situation by enhancing guest experience, elevating staff productivity and job satisfaction, and boosting sales and order volume for owners and operators.
Live in more than 1,200 restaurants across 40 states, ConverseNow serves some of the country’s top restaurant brands, such as Domino’s Pizza, Fazoli’s and Blake’s Lotaburger, with many more at various stages of development. This recent round of funding allows the voice AI provider to meet explosive demand by deploying in new locations at scale.
“We are incredibly honored to partner with the hospitality leaders at EHI and USHG as we look forward to our next phase of growth,” says Vinay Shukla, Co-Founder and CEO of ConverseNow. “Even after last year’s 12x revenue growth, we’ve come a long way in 2022. Just about every restaurant chain is looking at voice AI, and naturally coming to us as the category market leader. Demand is very strong, and one of our biggest challenges has been ramping up our AI to keep up with this demand, so an additional round was necessary to accommodate this customer growth without needing to raise a full Series B.”
EHI Joins ConverseNow Board
ConverseNow joins an exclusive list of hospitality-focused companies under the EHI umbrella, including labor management software provider 7shifts and national ice cream brand Salt & Straw. In turn, EHI, co-founded by restaurant legend Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group and Shake Shack, will add invaluable foodservice experience to ConverseNow’s already impressive lineup of restaurant-oriented investors.
“We’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way consumers engage with restaurants over the past two years, and for restaurants to earn customer loyalty today they must deliver memorable experiences. Our team is thrilled to partner with ConverseNow as the company drives innovation in the restaurant industry by enabling team members to spend more time interacting with guests where they can bring hospitality to the forefront of their offering,” Meyer says.
READ MORE: Voiced-Based AI Company ConverseNow Raises $15 Million
The addition of EHI to ConverseNow’s acclaimed investor portfolio is being met with great praise.
“ConverseNow’s voice AI technology is transforming the restaurant industry, and having EHI as a partner and investor will further accelerate the company’s growth,” says Bryan Rosenblatt, Partner at Craft Ventures. “EHI's deep hospitality experience, innovative vision and extensive industry network will be a catalyst for mainstream adoption of this transformative technology."
"ConverseNow is driving the explosive category of voice AI for restaurants. The addressable market is enormous, and it's incredibly important that a partner like EHI can come in to help ConverseNow seize its market potential," says Rajiv Bala, General Partner at Clutch VC, who led ConverseNow's seed round in 2020. "You’ve got two seasoned technology veterans in [cofounders] Vinay and Rahul, who in teaming up with the industry veterans in EHI, are an unstoppable force.”
Taking conversational AI to new heights
ConverseNow’s award-winning technology has completely transformed the restaurant landscape, allowing leading brands to move beyond archaic automated phone systems and call centers that have long been a source of consumer frustration. With mainstream adoption imminent, ConverseNow will leverage this funding to scale their technology as the go-to solution for ordering food from leading quick-service and full-service brands.
“We’ve seen remarkable results with the customers we’re live with now. Our engineering and product teams have made the impossible possible, and now it’s time to scale these efforts to deploy with more brands, in more stores,” says Rahul Aggarwal, Co-Founder, COO and Chief Product Officer for ConverseNow. “We’ve developed a robust product suite with a growing list of patents to train the AI quicker, integrate with necessary hardware and software providers, and provide analytics for each operator to unlock never-before-seen insights. We’re excited to bring this value to many more leading restaurants.”