Observe.AI backer Zendesk creates fund to invest in AI startups
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Observe.AI backer Zendesk creates fund to invest in AI startups

By Malvika Maloo

  • 24 Jun 2024
Observe.AI backer Zendesk creates fund to invest in AI startups
Tom Eggemeier, chief executive, Zendesk

Customer engagement software provider Zendesk, which has backed companies such as conversational intelligence firm Observe.AI and field service management software provider Zuper, has set up a global venture capital fund, creating an official arm to invest in early-stage AI-first companies.  

The company, which was taken private in 2022 by American private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and Permira in a $10.2-billion deal, will allocate capital from its balance sheet, as it looks to enhance its AI offerings and add more AI-first companies that help improve customer and employee experiences under its umbrella.  

Zendesk Ventures will invest in startups from seed through Series A stages.  

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While Zendesk did not disclose the size of the fund, the corporate VC is likely to invest tens of millions of dollars, with cheque sizes of up to $1 million, chief executive Tom Eggemeier told Axios.  

"Every organization is on a path to becoming AI-driven, and we’re eager to form partnerships with companies leading this new era,” said Ben Barclay, SVP of Strategy, Corporate Development, and Transformation, Zendesk, said in a statement.  

“Customer and employee service is changing rapidly because of advancements in AI. Investing in these companies does more than drive their growth, it elevates our customers’ ability to provide exceptional interactions," he added.  

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Further, it announced two new investments in PolyAI, which develops advanced conversational voice assistants, and unitQ, an AI-powered customer feedback platform.  

“The AI startup ecosystem is booming in India. Unique value propositions and immense growth potential make AI startups a great investment in India,” said Vasudeva Rao Munnaluri, RVP India & SAARC, Zendesk. 

Zendesk was founded by Morten Primdahl, Alexander Aghassipour and Mikkel Svane in 2007. It is a customer relationship management company that builds software to meet the needs of any business. It has previously made strategic investments in AI startups. Last year, it acquired AI-workforce management solution Tymeshift, to deliver better customer service and increase team productivity with real-time reporting, forecasting and scheduling.  In 2021, Zendesk acquired AI automation startup Cleverly.  

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