At a time when most organisations were resorting to downsizing for cost-efficiency in 2020, Vernacular.ai managed to expand its workforce four times. In 2021, it hopes to double its existing headcount. The process has already begun with the appointment of Gangadhar Kodandaram as the chief revenue officer and Ankit Jain as vice president – product management.
The AI-driven SaaS startup now has its eyes set on expanding globally, beginning with SouthEast Asia.
Not only did the Company not resort to layoffs, it even distributed bonuses, having undertaken the appraisal process on time and gone ahead with the promotions to keep the staff motivated.
The Company provides an AI-based voice automation platform – Vernacular Intelligent Virtual Assistant (VIVA), that helps accelerate engagement strategy and utilises speech recognition and natural language understanding (NLU) technology.
Sourabh Gupta, CEO and co-founder, Vernacular.ai, is confident that the experience possessed by Kodandaram and Jain in emerging technologies, combined with their commitment will help the Company grow and deliver value “in terms of expanding the customer-base and enhancing the products to suit the clients’ needs,” as it works on “becoming the world’s most immersive Voice AI platform.”
Kodandaram has moved from Microsoft India, where he was involved in building the healthcare vertical and also ran government business for South India driving AI, cloud and digital transformation. With over 17 years of experience in sales and strategic partnerships, he is also an advisor to startups and serves as Hon director at Make-A-Wish foundation.
At Vernacular.ai, he will be responsible for building a world-class sales team and execute on the sales and marketing priorities in addition to spearheading global expansion plans into APAC, EMEA and the US.
Kodandram is joining Vernacular.ai at a time when “Voice tech is becoming an important weapon in the CX arsenal for B2C organisations focused on delivering a great customer experience, and we are solving this very critical problem for our customers.”
Jain, who was earlier co-founder and CEO of an AI startup called Y Combinator, will lead a team of product managers and specialists, to drive concept launches and further fine-tune and enhance Vernacular.ai’s product roadmap, while stimulating innovation within the team.
He is backed by 10 years of experience in product management. He feels ”Cracking voice is 100 times more difficult than cracking chat,” because “the end-users compare their experience of talking to a voice bot with their experience of talking to a human agent, so the bar for CX is very high.”
The challenge becomes tougher as the platform focusses on ”improving the ability to handle human-like conversations in multiple Indian and global languages.”
Vernacular.ai is working on its capabilities for better speech to text, text to speech and intent capture engine to offer world-class experience.
The speech and voice recognition market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.2 per cent from 2019 to 2025, and attain $26.8 billion by 2025. As of May 2020, Vernacular.ai secured $5.1 mn in Series A funding led by Exfinity Ventures and Kalaari Capital. AngelList, IAN Fund, and LetsVenture also participated in the round.