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Digital customer service firm Glia agreed to acquire conversational AI technology company Finn AI.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Glia Co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli said that Finn AI is a strong fit for Glia because of its technology, market approach, and company culture.
Digital customer service firm Glia is enhancing its offering with its recent acquisition of conversational AI technology company and fellow Finovate alum Finn AI.
Financial terms of the agreement, which will integrate Finn.ai’s conversational AI solutions into Glia’s customer service platform, were not disclosed. Glia Co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli said that Finn AI is a strong fit for Glia because of its technology, market approach, and company culture.
“This marks a new chapter for Virtual Assistants: Verticalization with Scale,” Michaeli said. “Generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ bot providers have largely failed to meet the full potential of conversational AI, leading to the emergence of vendors focusing on specific industry verticals. Until now, none of the financial services bot vendors have been able to achieve widespread adoption on their own.”
Finn AI Co-founder and CEO Jake Tyler said that joining forces with Glia will offer Finn AI scale. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., Finn AI aims to transform customer engagement and increase financial literacy with its AI-powered conversational banking technology. Among the company’s clients are ATB Financial, BECU, United Federal Credit Union, EQ Bank, Civista Bank, and Truist Momentum.
According to the press release, Finn AI and Glia have a lot of shared clients, and Finn AI’s technology is already integrated into Glia. Post-acquisition, the company’s leadership team will take on leadership positions within Glia. As for Finn AI’s Canadian headquarters, Glia plans to use the location to establish a “Conversational AI Center of Excellence.”
Glia was founded in 2012 as SaleMove. The company offers digital communication choices, on-screen collaboration, and AI-enabled assistance tools. Glia, which has taken home 10 Finovate Best of Show awards for its live demos, most recently showcased its tools at FinovateSpring 2021. Finn AI also boasts accolades from the Finovate audience, having taken home two Finovate Best of Show awards for its demos at FinovateAsia 2016 and FinovateFall 2017.
Glia recently raised a $45 million Series D investment round.
The round values the company at over $1 billion, making it a fintech unicorn.
Glia said the funds “will be heavily allocated toward research and development.”
Digital customer service tools provider Glia is now valued at over $1 billion, making it fintech’s newest unicorn. The company announced earlier this week it closed a $45 million Series D investment, bringing its total funding to $152 million.
Insight Partners led the round, which saw contributions from existing investor Wildcat Capital Management and new investor RingCentral Ventures. Glia will “heavily allocate” the funds into research and development, investing in advanced AI, analytics, messaging, voice, and video capabilities. The company, which has offices in New York and Estonia, also plans to boost international expansion.
“The future of customer service is digital, and those that have yet to take steps to modernize their support and engagement strategies are already behind,” said Glia Co-Founder and CEO Dan Michaeli. “We’re thrilled by our investors’ confidence reflected in the round’s valuation, recognizing that we’ve only scratched the surface of what Glia can accomplish. Our rapid growth and successful relationships with financial services companies of all types demonstrates the urgent need for Digital Customer Service. As we build upon a decade of innovation, this capital will further extend our reach and help even more businesses across the globe reimagine how they connect with customers digitally.”
Glia was founded in 2012 as SaleMove. The company seeks to reinvent how businesses support their customers in a digital world– an imperative tool in today’s digital-first economy. Specifically, Glia offers digital communication choices, on-screen collaboration, and AI-enabled assistance tools. The company has 250 clients across the globe, including banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other financial institutions.
Glia has won 10 Best of Show Awards– an impressive feat. Check out the company’s latest award-winning demo from spring of last year.
Multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner Glia and Conversational AI specialist Posh Technologies have teamed up to bring new customer engagement options to TwinStar Credit Union.
“The financial institutions that provide customers and members with a strategic blend of human touch and AI will have high retention and acquisition rates,” Glia co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli said. “By partnering with Glia and Posh, TwinStar offers members a seamless support network where no duplication is required. It’s a faster, better member experience that alleviates the frustrations associated with typical support lines. Easy communication with financial support is a cornerstone to service and long-lasting relationships.”
Courtesy of this partnership, TwinStar CU will offer a seamless digital chat experience available directly from its website and mobile app that features both automated and live member support. The automated chatbot solution will be able to respond to basic queries regarding branch hours, ATM locations, routing numbers, and similar information. More complex inquiries will be transferred to human contact center agents via Glia’s live chat feature, creating a more efficient experience for both members and support teams.
Member service will not be limited to live chat, either. Once live agents are engaged, members will be able choose the communication channel of their choice – messaging, video banking, or voice – as well as toggle between communication options and take advantage of support tools like co-browsing. The result is “faster and better service to our members in a multitude of ways” according to Scott Daukas, TwinStar Chief Strategy Officer. “We are thrilled to offer this great service to our members,” he said.
Headquartered in Washington State, TwinStar CU serves more than 135,000 members in Washington and Oregon, and manages $1.8 billion in assets. The institution traces its origins back to 1937, when teachers at Olympia High School who were struggling to secure loans on their meager salaries joined together to form the Thurston County Teacher Credit Union. The institution’s first branch, a classroom at the high school made available four days a week, was opened in 1950. The credit union became TwinStar in 2006.
Boston, Massachusetts-based Posh Technologies was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018. The company specializes in creating intelligent chatbots and interactive voice response (“conversational IVR”) phonebots and includes financial institutions like the State Department FCU and Finovate alum Mr. Cooper among its customers. Posh has picked up non-equity backing from MassChallenge and FinTech Sandbox.
Most recently winning Best of Show honors at FinovateSpring last month, Glia announced a partnership with credit union service organization, Members Access Processing (MAP) in May, as well. In March, the company announced a collaboration with AI-powered virtual assistant solution provider Abe.ai. With more than 200 banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other financial institutions as its partners, Glia began the year with news that BCU, a $4.2 billion credit union based in Illinois, had selected its Digital Member Service platform to better engage its 294,000 members.
A collaboration between digital customer service innovator Glia and credit union membership service organization (CUSO) Members Access Processing (MAP) will help credit unions better serve their members via their channel of choice – whether it is messaging, video banking, voice, cobrowsing, or a combination of options.
“Consumers expect every business they interact with to deliver quick, seamless service and support, and their credit unions are no exception,” Glia co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli explained. “By partnering with us and making Digital Member Service a critical part of their digital transformation, MAP will be able to help its financial institution clients boost member satisfaction and loyalty while strengthening their overall competitive positions.”
Glia combines on-screen collaboration and AII-enabled customer assistance to offer a Digital Customer Service solution that enriches web and mobile experiences and improves engagement. The company’s platform not only meets customers on their channel of choice; the solution enables the service representative and customer to transition seamlessly between chat, audio, video, messaging, and phone as needed during the course of the query to ensure that the customer’s needs are met.
“As digital usage continues to rise, it’s a strategic imperative for credit unions to be able to form strong member relationships from within digital channels,” MAP president and CEO Cyndie Martini said. “Glia’s platform allows for credit unions to engage members from where they are in their journey, eliminating the need for disjointed, clunky phone experiences. This ultimately drives efficiencies for the credit union while creating a more cohesive, enjoyable experience for members.”
Most recently demonstrating its Best of Show-winning technology at FinovateSpring earlier this month, Glia has teamed up with more than 150 banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other financial institutions since its inception in 2012. This year, in addition to its collaboration with MAP, Glia has teamed up with Abe.ai, an AI-powered virtual assistance solution provider from fellow Finovate alum Envestnet | Yodlee, and partnered with low code digital automation platform provider Newgen Software. Glia began the year with an announcement that Illinois-based BCU, a 294,000+ member credit union with $4.2 billion in assets, has selected its platform to enhance digital engagement with its members.
“Member service has always been one of our primary differentiators, and we recognized the need to evolve our approach to keep up with changing member preferences by extending our exceptional service into digital channels,” BCU SVP of digital strategy and delivery Carey Price said. “With Glia’s platform, we will be able to provide a more modern, convenient experience for members that still allows us to form meaningful relationships digitally. We believe this will be a major competitive advantage moving forward.”
The people have spoken and the votes for Best of Show for the second, all-digital FinovateSpring have been counted. After two days of innovative fintech demos, here are the companies that have been awarded Finovate’s top prize.
Dreams for its financial wellbeing platform that helps banks attract the new generation and create superior digital engagement by leveraging the latest insights from cognitive and behavioral science. Video.
Glia for its digital customer service platform that connects financial institutions to their customers using chat, voice, video, co-browsing, and AI. Video.
Signal Intent for its financial calculators for the digital age – built to win you more customers, capture better customer data, and help you move fast in the era of digital transformation. Video.
Thank you to all of our demoing companies, our speakers and presenters, our sponsors and partners and, of course, our wonderful audience and digital attendees.
Stay connected to the Finovate blog for more from our FinovateSpring companies and presenters, as well as updates about our upcoming events in July for FinovateAsia and our return to in-person conferencing in September for FinovateFall.
Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The three companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2020 conferences are below:
In a round led by existing investor Insight Partners, multi-channel digital customer experience specialist Glia has raised $78 million in capital. The Series C round takes the company’s total funding to $107 million, and will be used to help scale the company’s digital customer service offerings with an emphasis on product development and an eye toward potential strategic acquisitions.
“Just as Zoom has transformed the way consumers communicate with colleagues, family and friends, Digital Customer Service is changing the way businesses support and engage with customers,” Glia co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli explained. “This is an area that has gone mainstream, as evidenced by Facebooks’s recent billion-dollar acquisition of Kustomer.”
Glia’s fundraising comes as the company reports growth of more than 150% in 2020. This is due in part to the impact of COVID-19 related lockdowns and Work From Home policies that drove consumers and employees alike toward digital channels for commerce and work. Glia’s platform enables customers to communicate with businesses using any channel – voice, text, video – and to seamlessly transition between those channels during the interaction. The technology allows customer service representatives to guide customer journeys, increasing personalization and efficiency and boosting customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Insight Partners Lonne Jaffe praised Glia’s platform for providing the tools required for businesses to engage customers digitally and “communicate through the customer’s channel of choice.” Dan Brown, founder and CEO of Interactive Intelligence, who also participated in this week’s investment, added that Glia represents a solution for companies that are “still focused on moving antiquated, on-premises telephony systems to cloud contact centers that essentially offer the same functionality.” Brown added that if he were to build his company again today, “I would take Glia’s approach.”
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York, Glia last demonstrated its digital customer service technology at FinovateWest Digital 2020, earning Best of Show honors. Formerly known as SaleMove, Glia has teamed up with more than 150 financial institutions, insurance companies, and fintechs, most recently partnering with intelligent virtual assistant company Interface, and fellow Finovate alum and AI-powered chatbot developer, Finn AI.
What have the companies that won Best of Show awards at last year’s FinovateFall conference been up to in the months since our New York show? With our autumn event less than a month away, we thought it would be a great time to check in on the nine companies that took home top honors this time last year.
BlytzPay – Integrated its digital payments technology with Dealer Management Systems (DMS) leader ABCoA Deal Pack. Announced strategic partnership with AFS Dealers.
Cinchy – Joined the 2020 MassChallenge FinTech Program in December 2019 along with five fellow Finovate alums. The program noted that 70% of the participants in its previous cohort launched a pilot or proof of concept within a year. Earned a $500,000 cash prize as one of the winners of the 2019 VentureClash competition. Raised $10 million in funding in May.
College Aid Pro – Partnered with Horsesmouth, a company that provides educational and marketing solutions for financial advisors and their clients. Announced collaboration with the American Institute of Certified College Financial Consultants. Teamed up with online student loan refinancing marketplace Credible.
ebankIT – Forged North American partnership with fellow Finovate alum Enterprise Engineering this spring. Announced updates to its multichannel banking platform.
Glia – Won Best of Show at FinovateEurope for a second year in a row. Integrated its technology with fellow Finovate alum Alkami’sOnline Banking Platform. Inked partnerships with 20 credit unions across the U.S.
MX – Topped 50,000 direct-to-bank API agreements to major financial institutions and fintechs. Launched data connectivity API, Path by MX. Named one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces 2020.
owl.co – Named one of Canada’s Most Innovative Tech Companies by the Canadian Innovation Exchange. Delivered $1 million in revenue within six months of launching.
Pinkaloo Technologies – Raised $1.25 million in funding. Joined Goldman Sachs-owned Ayco Marketplace for financial counseling and wellness services. Partnered with Eastern Bank to power its Give for Good charitable giving program.
Zogo Finance – Teamed up with fellow Finovate alum Bankjoy. Announced partnerships with 11 community banks and credit unions across 12 states. Surpassed 1,000,000 financial literacy modules completed.
FinovateFall Digital 2020 kicks off Monday, September 14 and continues through Friday, September 18 with hours of live and on-demand content. Visit our registration page today and join us for Finovate’s biggest, digital-first event to date.
How’s $7 billion for good karma? One of Finovate’s earliest alumsCredit Karma is reportedly the target of what would be Intuit’s biggest acquisition to date. According to The Wall Street Journal, the cash and stock deal could be announced as early as Monday.
Credit Karma will continue to function as an independent company with founder and CEO Kenneth Lin at the helm. The acquisition gives Intuit, maker of online tax filing service TurboTax, another contact point with the online personal finance world. Credit Karma provides its members with access to their credit scores and borrowing histories, helps them monitor their accounts for security breaches and, perhaps most relevantly, has offered a free online tax preparation service since 2017.
If the deal holds up, Intuit will be paying a significant premium for Credit Karma. The personal financial wellness company was last valued at $4 billion, based on a 2018 private market transaction.
The victory may have been especially sweet for Sonect, whose Best of Show award-winning demo was also the company’s Finovate debut. The Switzerland-based start-up offers what it calls “the world’s first social cash network” that enables consumers to access cash without having to visit a bank branch or ATM. Sonect offers merchants the ability to grow their business via increased traffic and gives financial institutions a way to extend their ATM networks without the cost of additional hardware.
The Best of Show win was also a first for Horizn. The company, which made its Finovate debut three years ago at FinovateEurope, offers a platform that helps employees and customers maximize the opportunities of digitized financial services. Horizn uses simulator microlearning, as well as gamification and advanced analytics, to promote digital adoption across channels.
And last but not least, a special tip of the hat to Dorsum, Glia, iProov, and W.UP, all of whom won Best of Show honors at FinovateEurope for a second year in a row.
Here’s a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.
Larkyenters reseller agreement with Access Softek.
Bison Bank in Lisbon, Portugal selects PSD2-ready software from ndigit.
OurCrowdexpands focus on growing early stage tech companies.
Finovate Alum Features and Profiles
eToro’s Evolution – Social trading and investment platform eToro has never been one to stand still for very long. The company’s development cycle is fast enough to make even the most sprightly fintech jealous.
Lending Club Snaps Up Radius Bank for $185 Million – When Lending Club was founded in 2007, the startup aimed to serve as a place to help borrowers avoid dealing with banks. In a somewhat ironic move today, that same startup is becoming a bank itself.