Kea raises $10M to build AI that helps restaurants answer the phone – ClearTips

Kea raises $10M to build AI that helps restaurants answer the phone – TechCrunch

Kea is a new startup that gives restaurants the opportunity to upgrade one of the more old-fashioned ways they take orders over the phone.

Today, Kea is announcing that it has raised a $ 10 million Series A led by Marbruck. Streamlined Ventures, Xfund, Heartland Ventures, DEEPCORE, Barrel Ventures and AVG Funds as well as angel investors Raj Kapoor (Chief Strategy Officer at Lyft), Craig Flom (who was on the founding team at Panera Bread), Wingstop franchise participation with. Tony Lam and Five Friends franchise Jonathan Kelly.

Founder and CEO Adam Ahmed said that while restaurants end forever, they usually don’t have anyone who can get their attention to answer the phone. (Many of you, after all, are probably very familiar with the experience of calling a restaurant and putting it on hold immediately.)

At the same time, he suggested that it remains an important ordering channel – particularly during the epidemic, as takeout and delivery have become the largest sources of revenue for many restaurants. Helen Rosner of the New Yorker put it perfectly when she suggested that anyone who wants to support the restaurant should “pick up the damage phone”.

Similarly, Ahmed said that for restaurants, paying substantial third-party order fees on all their orders is “not a sustainable long-term strategy.” So Kea is offering technology that helps restaurants handle more orders over the phone, calling Ahmed a “virtual cashier” who can have an early intake with customers, process the most regular orders when needed and a human Can bring employees.

The idea of ​​an automated voice assistant can bring back unpleasant memories of trying to call your bank or any other Byzantine customer service department. But Ahmed said that while most current phone systems are “not smart”, Kea’s is very different, as it focuses on just restaurant ordering.

“We’re doing a very closed domain,” he said. “In the pizza world, there are only a few thousand permits. We’re not innovating for the entire dictionary – it’s a constrained model, it’s a menu. “

In fact, the Kea team gave me a number to dial where I could try the system for myself. It was a very simple and easy process, where I provided my address and then the details of my pizza order. And then, you can transfer a human employee at any time. (In fact, I was accidentally transferred during my demo, which quickly caused me embarrassment.)

Kea already lives in more than 250 restaurants, including Papa John’s, Donatos and the Primanti Brothers, and says it is saving them an average of 10% labor per week, a 23% increase in average order size happened. With the new funding, Ahmed aims to bring KA to 1,000 restaurants in 37 states in 2021.

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