If you are wondering just how the world of artificial intelligence is going, you need only take a look at Boston-based Talla. This company announced that they have raised $8.3 million in their Series A round, which was led by Glasswing Ventures.
Other participants in the round are PJC, Avalon Ventures, Jason Calacanis’ Launch Fund, and Pillar. With the addition of this $8.3 million, it brings the total raised by Talla to $12.3 million since being founded back in 2015. Right now the company has only 17 employees, but expects to hire more people in sales and data science positions.
What is Talla
The CEO and co-founder of Talla, Rob May, provides a product known as a service assistant program. What the program does is give businesses the unique ability to incorporate artificial intelligence into their service desk processes by virtue of chat. IT and HR requests and questions can be created and then answered completely automatically for employees through various chat programs. These could include Slack, Microsoft Teams, or the web-based TallaChat.
If you work in a company with dozens or even hundreds of employees, you can only imagine how often someone is asking a question that has been answered already that day, hour, or even few minutes. Some of these questions might include ‘what is the wifi password?’, ‘what programs should I set the new employee up with?’ and ‘what kind of health benefits are available?’
Talla’s software uses both machine working and language processing in order to built a knowledge base of the company’s processes, particularly in the areas of IT and HR. It learns from the questions that employees send in and the responses that go back to those people. It also allows administrators to send alerts or news, start training a new employee, or even collect results from a poll. There are plans to move beyond this and use larger data sets to provide even more in-depth functionality.
The company plans to use the invested funds in order to expand marketing and sales efforts, while also investing in its advanced natural language processing infrastructure. They will likely hire more employees into the business, which currently consists of only 17 people.
However, May knows that the public mindset about chatbots may still need some persuasion. “When people realize the productivity [gains], they’ll realize you’re going to be behind if you don’t have a bot strategy,” he says. “You’re going to look around in three years and be shocked at all the things bots can do.”
Is May right? Time will tell. But as larger companies adopt these sorts of software, it seems likely that they won’t just disappear in a day, week, month, or year. The gained time and money that can be acquired is worth a lot. HR and IT professionals will have more time for doing advanced services, while Talla and programs like it, take care of the small details. Seems like a win for AI and technology to us.