Conversica, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that helps sales teams convert in-bound leads through automated conversations, has raised $31 million in a series C round of funding from a mix of existing and new investors, including Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners, Toba Capital, Kennet Partners, CIBC, and Savano Capital.

Founded out of Foster City, California in 2007, Conversica — which was known as Ava.ai until a name change in 2014 — leverages natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to engage prospective customers through organic conversations across email and text messaging. The platform integrates with numerous third-party enterprise applications, including HubSpot, Oracle Sales, and Microsoft Dynamics.

Big-name clients include Box, AT&T, Chrysler, Oracle, SAP, and the Sacramento Kings.

The company has been pushing into the education realm, too, recently introducing the AI Admissions Assistant, a conversational assistant designed to help higher education institutions engage automatically with prospective students.

“Conversica continues to define what it means to deliver breakthrough customer success and business growth in the conversational AI category,” said Conversica CEO Alex Terry. “I believe even more strongly today in the power of AI to deliver an improved customer experience and to free humans from the routine work that limits us reaching our full potential.”

Prior to now, Conversica had raised $56 million, including a $34 million series B round two years ago. With another $31 million in the bank, it plans to fund a global sales and marketing drive and double down on its platform investment.

Above: Conversica in action.

In conversation

Conversational AI is a hot topic across industries, particularly with Google on the cusp of launching its Duplex AI for its Pixel 3 smartphone. Duplex can make phone calls to schedule appointments and make reservations on your behalf.

Elsewhere, LivePerson recently acquired Conversable, the creator of conversational bots for food chains such as McDonald’s, TGI Friday’s, and Pizza Hut.

Human employees, it seems, are increasing falling out of favor with marketers, but it’s ultimately all about optimizing communication and ensuring customers are engaged as quickly as possible to maximize the conversion opportunity.

“Conversica has transformed its cutting-edge technology into a solution that delivers real value for customers in terms of increased revenue and satisfaction,” added Gopi Vaddi, managing director at Providence Strategic Growth. “Conversica is poised for explosive growth, and PSG led this funding round because it’s the company defining success in the dynamic, high-growth AI market.”

A spokesperson also told VentureBeat that in addition to email and text, the company is currently testing integrations with other communication channels, including social media, voice, and video.

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