(Image source: Ushur homepage.)
Ushur (Santa Clara, Calif.) a startup offering a service engagement platform featuring conversational AI, has announced $25M in Series B funding, fueled by a rapidly modernizing insurance industry and a growing demand for self-service customer experiences. Third Point Ventures (Menlo Park, Calif.) led the round, with participation from existing investor 8VC (San Francisco). The latest investment brings Ushur’s total funding to $36M. Ushur will use the proceeds to accelerate its sales and marketing efforts.
Ushur reports that its cloud-native automation platform is currently deployed at insurers such as Aetna, Irish Life, Tower Insurance and Unum to help theem transform their customer communications with “digital-first” experiences, trading phone calls and physical mailers for convenient web, mobile and email engagement. The vendor says its no-code workflows seamlessly automate each interaction using best-in-class natural-language processing.
Usher’s asserts that this more modern approach to customer engagement not only reduces the cost of servicing customers, agents and brokers, but measurably improves customer experience. After implementing Ushur, insurers have seen their Net Promoter Scores (a measurement of customer satisfaction) improve by as much as 40 percent, the vendor says.
“Ushur is a true partner in our digital transformation,” comments Mike Simonds, COO, Unum Group (Chattanooga, Tenn.). “Their ability to rapidly prototype and automate customer journeys has provided Unum with a competitive edge, delighting our customers while allowing our employees to focus on higher value work. As impressive as their technology is, the quality of the Ushur team may be what sets them apart. They really care about our success.”
Ushur describes its range of intelligent automation capabilities powered by conversational AI, as follows:
- Ushur Virtual Customer Assistant: Smart technology that automates proactive member, claimant, agent or broker communications across virtually any channel, reaching out to customers, understanding what they need and automatically taking the next steps, whether gathering information for an insurance claim, triggering a renewal notice or providing information about a new product.
- Ushur SmartMail: Software that allows insurers to process high volumes of customer, agent and broker email automatically, allowing carriers to respond faster and more efficiently. SmartMail automatically classifies incoming emails using Ushur’s proprietary natural-language technology, extracts key account information, auto-responds and auto-populates extracted information into claims, policy, underwriting or core systems, all in under one second.
- Ushur Flowbuilder: Ushur’s web-based no-code builder allows claims, broker services and customer support teams to build, deploy and track rich digital engagements that improve business agility and the customer experience while minimizing the burden on IT. Coupled with deep integrations into insurers’ existing CRM, claims and core systems, Flowbuilder puts the power of digital transformation directly into the hands of business teams.
Dublin-based Irish Life selected Ushur to automatically steer high-volume incoming emails to the proper destinations based on their content. Out of the box, Ushur was as accurate as human reviewers, and its performance improved the more email it reviewed, the vendor reports. Previously it took Irish Life agents between 3 hours and 2.5 days to process enquiries and requests. With Ushur, the same work takes less than a second, with roughly 40 percent fewer resources.
“The results we got were phenomenal, and we hadn’t written a line of code,” comments Ken Lynch, head of information services, Irish Life. “We’d never seen anyone who could do that. From our standpoint, Ushur were the only ones out there truly doing something different.”
Automation that Feels Personal
Third Point Ventures Managing Partner Robert Schwartz asserts that Ushur is positioned at the intersection of some of the most important developments in enterprise software. “Automation that feels personal yet delivers tremendous efficiencies to the enterprise,” he says. “No-code design that allows customers to get to deployment and benefit easily and incredibly fast. Customer experiences that actually favor the customer. And they’re doing an incredible job with execution. You look at their testimonials, and you can see how much businesses love working with them. It’s exciting to work with a startup that has such strong product-market fit and such happy customers.”
“Our mission from day one has been to champion the end-user experience—as one of our users told us, ‘It’s all about customer ease,’” comments Simha Sadasiva, CEO, Ushur. “Customers want the convenience of a digital self-service experience, but they also want that experience to feel personal. With Ushur, insurers can offer both. They can automate all sorts of interactions, from sales to claims management, while putting the customer in control, so customers can engage on their terms, on their schedule.”