Pypestream raises $15 million

Thanks to VentureBeat – Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage. Case in point? In a recent survey, 15 percent of U.S. adults said they’d used a chatbot to interact with a company this year. Be that as it may, such systems can be difficult to design and maintain if you don’t have the data science chops. And with the demand for AI experts expected to soar 28 percent by 2020, according to IBM, finding the necessary talent is not going to get any easier.

But firms like Pypestream are working to close the gap. In a few short years, the New York-based AI solutions startup has signed on customers like Shell, DishNetwork’s Sling TV, and TriWest. And Pypestream says it has tripled its customer base in the past 12 months alone. To fuel that growth, it today announced a $15 million raise from insurance company W.R. Berkley, bringing its total haul to $35 million.

This round follows on the heels of $15 million in Series A financing last year. And it coincides with the launch of Design Studio, a new customization tool that sits atop Pypestream‘s proprietary natural language processing (NLP) engine.

“The automated, on-demand experiences our clients now deliver to their customers through messaging far exceed those of interacting with live agents or web chat — they’re fast, highly functional, intuitive, and economically efficient,” CEO Richard Smullen said. “We will use this additional capital to help more businesses provide … experiences that their customers not only love but expect.”

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