Customer engagement platform Symend at the moment introduced that it has raised $52 million, which it says will likely be put towards R&D and worldwide market enlargement. The firm’s merchandise leverage AI and machine studying to automate processes round debt decision for telcos, banks, and utilities because the pandemic ravages the economic system.

CEO Hanif Joshaghani cofounded Calgary, Canada-based Symend in 2016, together with chief strategist and chief advertising officer Tiffany Kaminsky. Joshaghani grew up in a family ceaselessly focused by calls from debt collectors, and he vowed to vary collections for the higher.

“Symend is not collections; we are in the business of helping at-risk customers self-cure,” Joshaghani advised VentureBeat by way of electronic mail. “Our mission is to change the collections process forever using digital engagement combined with behavioral science to approach customers with empathy and dignity.”

Symend combines behavioral science and analytics to assist service suppliers and monetary establishments develop individualized shopper debt remediation packages. With workflow and marketing campaign automation instruments, managers can interact with clients at factors throughout restoration that may drive the largest influence with the least quantity of friction.

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It all begins with technique. Symend’s behavioral scientists develop flows that deal with past-due clients in alignment with in-house programs and model requirements, incorporating threat and behavioral knowledge into iterative buyer segmentation. Symend claims to optimize its toolkits with experimental testing and scientific validation and to regulate methods based mostly on what’s working. Beyond this, it takes under consideration compliance and regulatory necessities within the areas the place it operates.

On the information science aspect, Symend enhances present buyer knowledge with the objective of accelerating buyer engagements, studying from behaviors with insights from cross-industry benchmarks. It additionally faucets efficiency knowledge and machine studying to tell future marketing campaign methods, with quick testing of a number of variables to drive increased decision charges.

It’s as much as Symend’s purchasers to decide on which ways they need to use for all or a portion of their delinquent clients. For instance, they will configure the platform to lean on conventional outreach strategies to create cost plans and limited-time cost reductions. Or they will join at-risk clients with monetary planning instruments and sources and credit score rehabilitation platforms.

Symend says it has processed 10 million clients throughout North America and that its platform has helped purchasers obtain 5 to 15 instances in-year return on funding. (It’s on observe to course of 100 million by 2020.) Moreover, the corporate says its clients on common see elevated self-resolution charges and are capable of scale back third-party collections prices and decrease name volumes.

That is little doubt music to the ears of banks and collectors experiencing exponentially increased call volumes, a development more likely to proceed as shoppers bear the brunt of the present financial downturn. According to a current survey from CreditPlaying cards.com, 47% of Americans are carrying bank card debt, and virtually 1 / 4 (23%) say they’ve added to their credit score as a direct results of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even earlier than the pandemic, the U.S. had a delinquent debt downside, factors out Joshaghani. He cites a 2016 whitepaper from the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals International (ACA) that discovered debt rose from $150 billion to over $600 billion within the earlier 5 years and assortment companies — who take between 20% to 50% of cash recovered — had an annual success fee of seven%.

Inovia Capital led Symend’s newest funding spherical, with participation from Ignition Partners, Impression Ventures, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, Mistral Venture Partners, and angel investor Markus Frind ($5 million got here from Silicon Valley Bank). The sequence B spherical brings the corporate’s complete raised to $60 million, following a $1 million seed spherical in December 2016.

Symend has workplaces in Toronto and Denver, along with its Calgary headquarters. After a yr wherein it tripled in dimension, it expects to develop to over 200 staff by the top of 2020.

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