ConverseNow, the leading voice-based AI technology for restaurants, has closed a $15 million Series A round led by Craft Ventures. The round included participation from investors in the company’s $3.3 million seed round (May 2020), including LiveOak Venture Partners, Tensility Venture Partners , Knoll Ventures, Bala Investments, 2048 Ventures, and Bridge Investments. Moneta Ventures and angel investors Federico Castellucci and Ashish Gupta also participated, bringing the total funding to $18.3 million.

ConverseNow transforms how quick-service restaurants serve customers with George and Becky, sophisticated AI voice ordering assistants that help optimize the deployment of valuable staff hours and improve the speed and accuracy of orders. Its cloud-based, multilingual solution personalizes restaurant orders in high-volume voice channels such as phone, drive-thru, self-service kiosks, and voice-assisted chat on mobile devices.

Already deployed with multinational and national restaurant brands, ConverseNow is shown to increase average orders by 23% and revenues by 20% while adding up to 12 hours of extra deployable labor time per store per week. By allowing human time to be shifted from order-taking to food preparation and high-value guest interaction, George and Becky measurably improve the entire customer experience.

“In the last year, with the pandemic accelerating drive-through habits and preferences, quick-service restaurant operators have rapidly embraced technologies like ConverseNow to keep up with demand and optimize for efficiency and customer service,” says Vinay Shukla, co-founder and CEO of ConverseNow. “With this additional investment, we will rapidly scale and develop other Drive-Thru solutions such as “digital line-busting” technology, which we will roll out later this year.”

“Attracting and maintaining staff is one of the biggest challenges facing the restaurant and hospitality industries as the economy roars back to life,” adds Rahul Aggarwal, co-founder and COO & CPO of ConverseNow. “By strategically using voice AI solutions to more accurately capture orders, we help our customers refocus this scarce human resource to deploy in areas that add the most value.”

Meet George and Becky:

George and Becky are among the smartest voice assistants created. Equipped with conversational and emotional intelligence, they replicate natural human dialog to gauge customer sentiment and guide conversations.

Leveraging anonymized machine intelligence, George and Becky can:

  • Detect nuances and predict ordering behaviors based on tailored questions and responses.
  • Save time, streamline the customer experience, and maximize revenues, by making recommendations based on contextual data and information available to them in real-time.
  • Assess variables such as past order history, the probability of upsells being approved, time of day, weather conditions, and even how busy the restaurant is – in some cases recommending items with shorter prep times during peak hours.
  • Tailor their personalities and voices can be tailored to the individual brand or restaurant chain.

Joining ConverseNow’s board of directors, Bryan Rosenblatt, Partner at Craft Ventures, comments: “Post-pandemic, quick service restaurants are primed for digital transformation, and we see a unique opportunity for ConverseNow to become a driving force in the space. Since its launch, the company has seen tremendous growth, and we look forward to supporting the team in becoming the leading digital gateway for QSR orders across multiple channels.”

Rajiv Bala, Managing Director at Bala Investments that led the company’s seed round, adds, “With Voice AI becoming a vital part of QSR operators’ strategy, ConverseNow provides an efficient solution to integrate its benefits at scale. Once its algorithms are trained in one voice channel, it can be deployed across multiple channels, reducing cost and time to market, making it a strong investment. We are thrilled to continue to participate in its growth.”

Wayne Pederson, CIO of Fazoli’s Restaurant Management, LLC, adds, “During the pandemic, Fazoli’s continued to serve guests while investing in technologies and infrastructure to fuel growth during the recovery. AI is an integral part of our ongoing strategy, and with ConverseNow, we have found a best-in-class partner. Their solutions allow our operators to better utilize the talents of their teams, thereby enhancing our guests’ overall experience and ultimately improving revenue.”

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