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Blume, RTP Global invest in Kleiner Perkins-backed startup Agara Labs
Team Agara Labs

Agara Labs, a deep-tech startup that helps automate customer support, said on Friday it has raised $2.5 million (Rs 17.5 crore) from domestic early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures and Russia's RTP Global in its pre-Series A round of funding.

The company will use the funds for product development and establish a sales team in North America, Agara Labs said in a statement.

Agara Labs, which was in stealth mode until this funding round, had received seed investment from Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in early 2017.

The company's flagship product -- Sia -- is a fully autonomous phone voice bot that can directly communicate with customers and handle their queries in real time.

The startup also operates an autonomous email support agent called BlueDot. This agent can understand and respond to customers with or without human intervention.

“We intend to remove the dreaded experience of being put on hold as a customer,” said Agara Labs co-founder Abhimanyu, who prefers to use only one name. “By harnessing cutting-edge deep learning technology and massive volumes of data, we are turning customer support into a pleasurable and satisfying experience for everyone," he added.

Agara Labs said it has processed over 250,000 queries and is on track to handle over 2 million support requests this year.

The company was founded by Abhimanyu, a former vice president of product at online homestay aggregator Stayzilla; Arjun Maheswaran, a former staff data scientist at Twitter; and Pankaj Gupta, a former head of personalization and recommendations at Twitter and chief product and technology officer at Stayzilla. Gupta has moved on to become director of engineering at Google.

"Agara Labs’ seasoned technical team and focus on ‘deep tech for global markets’ fits in well with our new fund’s focus areas," said Sanjay Nath, managing partner, Blume Ventures.

Kirill Kozhevnikov, partner, RTP Global, said that Agara Labs' solutions is validated by multinational enterprise companies and that it has a product with significant scalability potential.

Investors

Blume Ventures was founded in 2010 by Karthik Reddy and Sanjay Nath. It is looking at a final close of its third fund, after making the first close at $40 million in October last year.

It had plans to invest 35-40% of its new fund in segments such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytics, software-as-a-service, blockchain, security, robotics and Internet of Things.

Overall, the VC firm has invested in more than 100 startups. These include online learning platform Unacademy, robotics firm GreyOrange, video creation platform Rocketium.com, clinical research and data analytics startup THB and diabetes management app BeatO. It has exited a number of companies including TaxiforSure, which was acquired by Ola, and Zipdial, which was bought by Twitter.

Its investments this year include Jai Kisan, a lending platform for farmers and Ethereal Machines, a deep-tech startup focused on the manufacturing industry.

RTP Global has been investing in Indian startups since 2012. The VC firm was most active in India in 2015, when the country’s startup ecosystem saw a funding boom. Since then, RTP had gone rather silent, striking just one deal by co-investing in health-tech startup Practo’s Series D round of funding early in 2017.

The VC firm was earlier known as ru-Net and had rebranded to RTP Global last year. Following the rebranding, it hired Kozhevnikov, former partner and managing director at Sistema Asia Fund.

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