The startup bug has bit even celebrities.
Pop star Will.i.am has developed a firm called i.am+ and has raised $117 million through venture funding. This marks the firm’s entry into computing marketing with a product that is said to be an AI enabled voice assistant, specifically for customer service.
The company was founded in 2012 with the initial purpose of selling headphones. However, with the introduction of this AI based voice assistant, something similar to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, the company exits from the headphone business and enters the tech startup community with a team of 300 employees.
In recent funding, the company raised $89 million from a group which includes Salesforce Ventures.
Will.i.am, who shot to fame with The Black Eyed Peas, stated that the corporate market is an excellent opportunity for his company to push its product called Omega.
“I wanted to create something that allows us to do many things,” Will.i.am said. “There’s so much you can do with a voice platform.”
Although there are other celebrities like Jessica Alba and Joe Montana who have started their own startups, they have only been in the consumer technology space. Deutsche Telekom AG is the first customer of i.am+. The Germany based telecom giant has been using Omega to operate an artificial intelligence based chat bot; and subsequently, it will plan to add a voice system too.
Will.i.am indicated that customer support is just the first step for Omega. The ultimate objective is to build enterprise voice AI products, leveraging the latest in technology. He said, “One of those things is handling hundreds of thousands of customers’ inquiries about their data plans simultaneously. It can do that, your imagination’s the limit.”