BERLIN & HELSINKI, DECEMBER 1ST 2020 - Ultimate, the Helsinki and Berlin-based company building the world’s leading virtual customer service agent, has raised $20M in Series A funding, led by OMERS Ventures with participation from Felicis Ventures and existing investors HV Capital, and Maki.vc.
The funding follows a year of massive growth and momentum for Ultimate. Digital commerce took center stage in 2020, driving strong tailwinds for technologies that enable great customer experiences at scale. The company has tripled its ARR over the last 12 months (for the second year in a row) and has also tripled its headcount, and with this large Series A round is set for even more explosive growth.
“After the first-generation of ineffective chatbots, businesses today really know what they’re looking for. Customer service automation has leap-frogged from simple FAQs to full process automation, across all digital channels. We’re really seeing the A-players emerge.”
Reetu Kainulainen, CEO and Co-founder of Ultimate
Ultimate’s mission is to empower brands to drive better customer experiences through automation. The company’s no-code platform makes powerful AI technology accessible, and puts it in the hands of customer service teams, to orchestrate their operations to deliver instant resolutions around the clock, and uniquely, in every language.
Integrated within the world’s leading CRM providers, including Salesforce and Zendesk, Ultimate’s virtual agent talks to customers, manages tickets, works in back office systems, escalates to other team members, and offers a multitude of other features.
“The new funding comes at a time of massive growth for us. This will enable us to keep investing in a category-defining product. We have been uniquely placed to provide crucial support for businesses that have experienced a surge in online customers, and the years of foundation building, product development, and our team culture have enabled us to ride the tailwind of the COVID-19.”
Reetu Kainulainen, CEO and Co-founder at Ultimate
The holistic, AI-first solution automates up to 80% of support interactions, freeing agents from repetitive requests. Rather than teams needing to replace their existing system, Ultimate can instead supercharge current workflows and setups.
Jambu Palaniappan, Managing Partner at OMERS Ventures, will join the board. Aydin Senkut, Founding Partner of Felicis Ventures, will join as an advisor, alongside former Head of Airbnb for Business Mark McCabe, and former EVP Global Sales at payment giant Adyen, Thijn Lamers.
“Ultimate’s growth has been truly spectacular, underpinned by its world-class team that is headed up by founders with a strong technical background and unrivalled knowledge of AI. There are numerous chatbot companies out there but Ultimate represents something much bigger because at its core is an automation company and the undisputed industry leader. ”
Jambu Palaniappan, Managing Partner at OMERS Ventures
The funding marks another milestone on Ultimate’s explosive growth journey. Currently, the company supports customer service departments of leading industry players, including companies such as Deezer, Telia, and Finnair.
Ultimate was founded in November 2016 in Finland by COO Sarah Al-Hussaini, CEO Reetu Kainulainen, CSO Jaakko Pasanen, and CTO Markus Rautio. The founders developed their entire deep learning stack in-house, enabling fully language-agnostic technology without the need for a translation layer. The multilingual capability is Ultimate’s cornerstone, driving continued growth across Europe and North America.
Ultimate will use this latest funding to advance its AI-powered automation platform, which currently powers customer interactions in over 20 languages, and to expand to North America and further throughout Europe. The current funding round brings the 4-year-old company’s total capital raised to more than $25M.
“The customer service industry is undergoing an automation revolution. In Ultimate, we saw a vision that’s bold enough to lead the way. We believe that, just in the same way that category leaders have defined marketing and sales automation, Ultimate will do the same for customer service.”
Aydin Senkut, Founder and Managing Partner of Felicis Ventures
More on the adoption of automation
Ultimate is the leading customer service automation platform and helps brands give great support experiences to every customer, instantly. The multichannel solution, deployed across chat, email, and social, provides a bird’s-eye view of customer communication and empowers brands to customize virtual agents for their unique business needs. Ultimate has offices in Helsinki and Berlin and is backed by HV Capital, Maki.vc, OMERS Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Techstars.
About OMERS and OMERS Ventures
Founded in 1962, OMERS is one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, with CAD$109 billion in net assets as of December 31, 2019. OMERS teams work in Toronto, London, New York, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Singapore, Sydney and other major cities across North America and Europe – serving members and employers and originating and managing a diversified portfolio of high-quality investments in public markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate. OMERS Ventures currently manages CAD$2 billion and has made more than 50 investments in disruptive technology companies across North America and Europe.
About Felicis Ventures
Founded in 2006, Felicis Ventures is a venture capital firm that has backed 28 companies valued at $1B or more. Felicis invests in iconic companies reinventing core markets, as well as those creating frontier technologies. More than 80 Felicis portfolio companies have been acquired or gone public, including Adyen (IPO), Guardant Health (IPO), Fitbit (IPO), Shopify (IPO), Meraki (acquired by Cisco), Twitch (acquired by Amazon) and Ring (acquired by Amazon).