Chorus.ai, a startup that leverages AI to analyze sales calls, this week raised $45 million. CEO and cofounder Jim Benton says the proceeds will be used to fund R&D and hiring as the company accelerates its go-to-market efforts.
Salespeople are on the whole enthusiastic about AI and machine learning. In Salesforce’s 2018 survey of 2,900 teams, 66% characterized AI’s ability to glean customer sentiment and engagement as “transformative.” The pandemic has only accelerated the embrace of AI platforms like Chorus, who had seen its revenue triple and workforce double in 2019. The company said among its over 200 customers — including GitLab, Zoom, Adobe, MongoDB, and Qualtrics — there’s been a “substantial” increase in calls about payment terms and packaging, underlining the need to train reps to navigate critical questions.
Chorus was cofounded in 2015 by Roy Raanani and Micha Breakstone, who headed up R&D at Ginger Software, and then at Intel after it acquired the company. Much like competitors Deepgram, Observe.ai, Cogito, and Amenity Analytics, Chorus employs proprietary natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to extract insights from recorded calls. But its solutions are laser-focused on the sales domain. The platform acts as a sort of autonomous secretary, joining sales phone and video calls and recording and transcribing content in real time. NLP systems work in tandem with a language model (and optical character recognition for video calls) to figure out who’s saying what, and they draw on past recordings in order to build a bespoke, per-client database of conversations, repetitions, jargon, and phrases.
After a call ends, Chorus provides a summary and notes in a web-based dashboard — Conversation Cloud — where it highlights useful information and juicy tidbits worth a follow-up, like risk factors and upsell opportunities. It integrates with popular meeting platforms like BlueJeans, WebEx, Zoom, and UberConference, as well as engagement platforms, including Outreach, RingCentral, SalesLoft, Five9, and Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) suite.
Chorus’ AI has trained on more than 5 million calls to date, resulting in speech recognition the company claims is up to 25% more accurate for sales calls than off-the-shelf models. Chorus says its tools can increase performance by 30%, with some clients reporting as high as 50% greater quota attainment.
Recently, Chorus launched Cold Call Central, a feature that taps AI to provide salespeople insights into cold calls by detecting whether the call was fielded by a gatekeeper or a phone tree or sent to voicemail. The company also introduced native Zoom integration and Recommendations, which provides role-based suggestions that help users automatically see important moments from hundreds of meetings. On mobile, Chorus rolled out smart playlists that enable managers to curate a collection of the most important call moments to train and onboard reps. And on the web, it debuted Coaching Initiatives and Scorecards, functionality that allows supervisors to score skills for training and quickly identify recommended calls with high scores so sales professionals receive actionable feedback.
Georgian Partners led the series C investment in San Francisco- and Tel Aviv-based Chorus, with renewed participation from existing investors Emergence Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and new investor Sozo Ventures. (To date, Chorus has raised $85.2 million, following a $33 million funding round in December 2018.) In addition to the capital infusion, Chorus this week announced that Greg Holmes will join the company’s board of directors. He’s the former head of sales and corporate strategy at Zoom and previously led sales teams at WebEx and Nimsoft.