Irish tech startup Webio raises $4M in funding to help companies chase down debt using conversational AI
Over the past decade, artificial intelligence has disrupted many industries including banking, payment and finance, healthcare, medicine, and law. Fueled by increased productivity and efficiency, the disruption has also brought about exponential growth.
However, the credit and collections functions of the payment industry have not received much technological attention. They are still outdated and ripe for disruption. Now one Irish startup is leading the change by using conversational AI to disrupt and revolutionize the collections and payments industry.
Today, Webio announced today it has closed a $4 million in a Series A funding round led by Finch Capital. With this funding, Webio will its technology scale-up following the digital shift during the pandemic and the uncertain economic climate to make difficult conversations about payments easy through their Conversation AI.
The Dublin, Ireland-based Webio will also use the new funds to deepen its capabilities in conversational AI and additional digital offerings. They plan to triple the company’s R&D team, expand the sales and marketing teams, and expand its customer success teams to address the market demand in the UK and European markets.
Founded in 2016 by Mark Oppermann, Cormac O’Neill, and Paul Sweeney, Webio’s platform enables the credit industry to positively and empathetically engage with their in-debt and vulnerable customers. Webio’s aim is to rebalance the Credit, Collections, and Payment ecosystem by reimagining the way lenders engage and converse with customers.
Webio’s technology has enabled leading the UK and European companies to communicate conversationally with customers throughout their credit and collections journey. Customers can ask questions, change payment dates, or organize a new repayment schedule, all tailored to their circumstances, all done through Conversational AI and automation. Customers experience the assurance that they have been engaged with, listened to, and interacted with fairly and appropriately and in turn, are more likely to be able to keep to their repayment schedules.
The jewel in the crown is Webio’s ability to ‘move the needle’ in predicting conversation outcomes by analyzing what is said and how it is said. Identifying characteristics such as a person’s potential vulnerability early and accurately, and then guiding that customer conversations through a range of best next steps dynamically is an example of a critical capability in this market. Webio clients can manage their collections conversations on a level like never before. They can know faster, act sooner, and do so with confidence.
“Conversations about money are stressful and difficult, not only for the customer but also for agents tasked with having these conversations. Going digital means companies can create a whole new set of digital experiences that help customers feel more confident in having those difficult conversations and ultimately, stop them from falling into unnecessary and significant financial difficulty. And we are excited that Webio’s conversational AI is enabling companies to engage with customers in a more empathetic manner, at scale”, says Cormac O’Neill, Co-Founder and CEO at Webio.
Cormac O’Neill said, “We are growing at more than 100% year on year, and we are targeted to double our headcount with this investment in the next 6 months. I am confident that Webio will maintain its rate of growth and may look to raise additional capital to enter new markets.
There are very exciting times ahead for us. We are certainly in the right market and at the right time. All I can say is watch this space,” Cormac O’Neill added.
Historically, the credit and collections functions have been neglected, but now the digital transformation is a necessity. During the pandemic, companies had to sell services online and provide customer service entirely digitally. Taking a call at the kitchen table was not practical where sensitive financial conversations were involved, so companies moved to digital messaging over WhatsApp, SMS, and Webchat.
A recent Deloitte study states that 60% of organizations reported progress on connecting service channels during this time, with 11% reporting that they can transition customers across channels and experiences seamlessly. The number of financial services organizations implementing conversational AI and digital assistants doubled over the pandemic and the privacy-first custom assistant model provided by Webio is finding resonance in the collection’s world.