Remote visual assistance vendor TechSee has closed out a $30 million Series C round that brought its total investment to $54 million. The round was co-led by OurCrowd, Salesforce Ventures, and Telus Ventures with participation from Scale Venture Partners and Planven Entrepreneur Ventures.
TechSee plans to use the new funding to enter new markets and verticals while also expanding its product offerings and capabilities.
Founded in 2015, Tel Aviv-based TechSee has made its mark during the Covid-19 pandemic by enabling technicians from companies such as Vodafone and Verizon to turn up customers' services remotely without entering their homes. TechSee is also used by contact centers to reduce the number of calls and improve the productivity of support agents
TechSee had driven its solutions into the realm of augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI) to help solve issues remotely and quickly. Unlike some remote virtual assistants, TechSee doesn’t require the customer to download an application to their smartphone or tablet.
TechSee’s AI platform can automatically identify components, ports, cables, LED indicators, and more to detect issues and suggest resolutions for consumers, contact center agents, and field technicians. TechSee is a cloud-based solution that runs on Amazon Web Services. Since there are no downloads or sign-ins, the service can be up and running in days.
With TechSee, a telco customer agent can send an SMS to the broadband subscriber that is experiencing a broadband issue. The subscribers click on the link that turns on their smartphone cameras to show the agent a broadband router our set-top box. TechSee supports Android and IoS devices, and also works on tablets.
Currently, there are more than 50 companies, including Logmein, Teamviewer, and Help Lightning, that provide remote visual support for installations, but they don't use computer vision AI.
In addition to keeping techs and customers safe during the shelter-at-home mandates from Covid-19, TechSee can also reduce costly truck rolls for operators by solving installation or service issues remotely.
"TechSee’s technology reflects a material leap forward in delivering great experiences and support to consumers," said Rich Osborn, managing partner, Telus Ventures. "Covid-19 has also accelerated the path to adoption through very clear use cases, and the transition from traditional means of servicing customers is primed for an evolution. The majority of consumers have powerful mobile computing devices that can enable a wide variety of virtual and augmented reality applications—from solving simple technical issues or unboxing and installing new devices, to activating and bringing user guides into real life.
"Telus Ventures was impressed with TechSee’s strong traction in enabling telecommunications client service through unique and differentiated technology, and its ability to innovate and deliver new capabilities during the COVID-19 crises."
TechSee's use of AI and augmented reality, along with the new funding round, is opening doors into new use cases and products. Autonomous assistance for technicians will allow telecom and cable technicians in the field to point their smartphone or tablet at a device, its components, wiring, LEDs, ports and cables to get troubleshooting guidance. It will also include auto-job verification such as providing feedback if the fibers are configured incorrectly.
TechSee is also working on visual self-service, which will allow consumers to self-install and troubleshoot issues in self-service—such as router installation—by pointing their smartphone camera at the device. Currently, the TechSee technology still requires an agent on the other end to speak with the customer to identify issues and troubleshoot.
With automated visual self-service, no agent will be needed because the computer vision AI can work with the customer directly to pinpoint problems and identify solutions. It can also diagram solutions using an AR overlay right on the consumer's tablet or phone screen. It's also fully automated, which means businesses can save time, money and resources by deflecting callers to the self-service portal.
TechSee, which currently has 60 employees, but expects to have 100 by year's end, has also seen some additional use cases crop up this year. One new use case includes "bill and invoice explanation" where an agent can visually guide customers through their bill or total automated self-service. TechSee's computer vision AI can identify the components and line items of a bill and help explain them to the customer.
App navigation has also proved to be an interesting use case for TechSee. Some telecom customers are finding TechSee's solution valuable when it comes to learning how to use their provider's mobile applications.
TechSee is also seeing its customers use its technology for on-site support when a technician is having difficulty solving a problem. In that use case, technicians contact an expert, such as an engineer, back at the office to help them fix problems without having to dispatch to the site.
"We believe there is significant potential to expand TechSee’s relationship with telcos globally by growing its offerings with existing customers and continuing to deliver value-added services to become a leading visual assistance company that can enable organizations like Telus to enhance its customer service and support," said Osborn.