On Tuesday, Volition Capital announced our most recent investment, leading the $15 million Series A in Zenarate, which provides simulation training software for improving agent performance during live customer and prospect engagements.
In today’s edition, we will be sharing an exclusive interview with Zenarate CEO Brian Tuite.
- Deep Dive: Brian Tuite Q&A
- Market Perspective: Layoffs Slowing Down
- Must-Read Resources: Seeing Beyond the Obvious, AI, Databricks
- Volition Media: Sean Cantwell Piece for Forbes Finance Council
- Portfolio News: Automatiq, Sensible Care, Creatio, Cohora
- Portfolio Fun: Super73 x Daily Paper
Let’s Dive In!
Interview with Zenarate CEO Brian Tuite on $15M Series A
The interview with Brian Tuite (pictured) was conducted by Volition Content Associate Alan Soclof
Alan Soclof: How would you describe Zenarate’s journey over the past few years and the solution Zenarate provides to its customers?
Brian Tuite: Zenarate is an enterprise SaaS platform that develops confident top-performing customer service and sales agents through natural language AI Simulation Training. Zenarate AI Coach immerses agents in life-like simulated scenarios, allowing agents to practice and master high impact conversation topics they will face with live customers and prospects.
If you think about learning to fly a plane, the early stages of the process includes classroom-style education, PowerPoints, quizzes, watching videos, etc. But you wouldn’t go from passing a test to jumping into the cockpit of a live plane for the first time. That would be pretty scary. You would practice in a flight simulator to master scenarios and skills you will need when flying a live plane. Zenarate creates the same simulation training experience, but instead of flight simulation, we provide conversation, screen, and chat simulation, allowing agents to master high-impact conversation topics and critical skills they will need when speaking with live customers and prospects. Our main focus is using AI to help people, not replace their roles.
Regarding our journey, we started the company in mid-2018. Fast forward to today, we have over 100 enterprise clients using our AI Coach platform every day in 15 languages around the world. We are proud of our accomplishments to date, but we are really just getting started on our journey to help millions of people be more confident and successful in their careers.
Pictured: AI Coach Demo
AS: Speaking of plans for the future, with a fresh injection of capital, how is Zenarate looking to further capture the opportunity at hand?
BT: Our vision is to power human connections around the world. To achieve that vision, we will use this capital to accelerate on our global expansion. We already have customers using our AI Coach in multiple countries and languages, we will expand on this solid foundation to help as many people as possible. The great news is our product is industry agnostic. At its most basic level, Zenarate is helping humans engage with other humans on any conversation topic, and agents just need a browser and a headset to access our platform from their home or office, so we can help people near and far. We will also use this capital to further invest in our product, continuing to push the limits of leading AI technology as a category leader.
AS: Why did you decide to partner with Volition for Zenarate’s next chapter?
BT: We’ve been building the company from day one with strong unit economics and capital efficiency, so raising capital wasn’t a priority. However, we realized over the last couple of years that when you have strong success through hard work and some luck, VCs take notice and reach out. We’ve had multiple VCs contact us literally daily over the past year, and after taking a few of their calls, we quickly noticed several factors that stood out with Volition Capital. First, the Volition team is smart and high integrity with positive attitudes making them enjoyable to work with. Our first requirement for anybody looking to join Zenarate in any role – whether an employee, advisor, partner, or investor – is they must have a positive attitude. We quickly assess if a person is a ‘Tigger’ or an ‘Eeyore’, and we don’t allow Eeyores in the door. The second factor is that the Volition Capital team is as passionate about exceeding Customer expectations as we are – you will have a hard time finding a more Customer-obsessed culture than we have at Zenarate. Everything we do is focused on one common goal – exceeding Customer expectations. The third factor is the Volition Capital team really understands how our product is differentiated with our natural language AI Simulation Training features that allow agents to master any company’s best & required practices using their own natural language without scripting, and just like human-to-human roleplay, our platform coaches agents on tone, soft skills, and best & required practices throughout their roleplay simulation. And finally, the knowledge and track record that Sean and his team have helping company’s like ours reach our greatest potential makes Volition Capital our ideal partner.
AS: Thanks for the time Brian, and I look forward to reconnecting soon!
BT: Thank you Alan. Talk soon.
Startup Layoffs Slowing Down?
- Over the past four months, layoffs for startups on Carta have slowed down meaningfully
- January ’23 was the worst month of layoffs the companies on the platform have seen with 17,285
- Carta expects layoffs to continue to slow down through the summer
Link: Click Here (Peter Walker)
THREADS, MUST-READS, AND KEY STATS
Beyond the Obvious, AI, Databricks Acquires MosiacML
- Seeing Beyond the Obvious (@larryvc)
- Amazon’s Writing Tips (@petergyang)
- Morgan Housel on the Unpredictability of the Future (@awilkinson)
- AI and the Burden of Knowledge (Mario Gabriele)
- OpenAI Plans ChatGPT Personal Assistant for Work (The Information)
- Inflection AI, The Year-Old Startup Behind Chatbot Pi, Raises $1.3 Billion (Forbes)
Sean Cantwell’s Pitch Deck Advice
The Rundown: Volition Founding Partner, Sean Cantwell, wrote a piece titled “Four Ways to Make Your Pitch Deck Stand Out” for the Forbes Finance Council.
Four of the key points that Sean highlights include:
- Be clear about the problem you are solving
- Introduce your team
- Break down your business model
- Put it in context
Make sure to check out the full piece here to read more about why Sean feels these four points are integral and what “bonus” advice he has for founders.
Automatiq, Sensible Care, Creatio, Cohora
- Automatiq Announces Autocriteria (Sam Sherman)
- Behavioral Health Company Bridges Local Gap (St. Pete Catalyst)
- Creatio and OpenModels Sign Exclusive Partnership (Southern Sports Today)
- Cohora: Creating Closed Social Networks for Brands (Streetfight Magazine)
Super73 x Daily Paper
Super 73 announced a collaboration with Amsterdam based label Daily Paper to create a limited edition set of custom ZX model bikes.
The line highlights the unique biking culture of Amsterdam and makes a futuristic statement in line with Daily Paper’s brand. Make sure to check out the full collaboration here.
Thanks for the read! We would love to hear what you think, so feel free to send us an email if you would like to chat.
-The Volition Team