The Startup Parlamind, a GTEC NO BULLSHIT LAB Alumni, just announced their successful Exit. We had the chance to have a few words with one of the founders, Tina Klüwer.
Tina, congratulations on the exit! Could you briefly explain Parlamind and its key innovation?
parlamind is a German start-up specialized in Artificial Intelligence for customer service. parlamind’s AI understands incoming customer’s messages autonomously on a semantic level and extracts the intents, sentiment and important information such as names, dates, addresses and much more. Based on that analysis it can either process messages fully automatically or prepare them for processing by the customer service staff.
One important fact about parlamind is that it supports all three main channels of customer service: e-mail, chat and telephone. Once trained and configured for one channel, it can easily be extended to more channels by reusing the knowledge it already has. The usage of Parlamind is a benefit for the company and the employees: Monotonous work processes are reduced to a minimum, motivation and commitment of the team gets increased and the quality of the conversations improved. To always offer the best results, we rely on state-of-the-art technology and also carry out our own research in the fields of computational linguistics and machine learning that we directly incorporate into our technology and products.
AI is pretty new and your solution might be a little bit of a wild take on customer service for the most of us. How do customers react to AI based customer service?
Our customers are very interested in learning about the possibilities they have to improve their customer service. Already today you can support your customer service team by various ways using Artificial Intelligence. That has nothing to do with super intelligence or terminator-like phantasies, but with high-quality software products. Our customers value the possibilities to support quality and efficiency in their customer service departments for example by answering repetitive email messages automatically. That is something they have in common with their customers, who appreciate a quick response to such inquiries, even outside the working hours.
As Parlamind is a GTEC NO BULLSHIT LAB Alumni – having had the GTEC experience, worked in the Lab and made use of the mentors and business support, in what way did GTEC help you achieve your goals?
GTEC has helped us a lot during the first year after founding the company. Our first financing was a public grant and could only be used for the personal financing of the founders. Thus, we had no money to rent an office or buy any other infrastructure. We were working remotely at home, sometimes meeting at one of our places. GTEC offered a nice location and all office infrastructure that you need so that we could actually sit together in one office which accelerated our young business a lot. It was super important for our creative process and our internal coordination that we could be together and talk easily whenever it is possible. It was also very helpful for us to get into contact with other founders and the startup scene in Berlin. GTEC offers some excellent events and talks in which we could learn a lot and network with other founders.
And now you have succeeded, you’ve reached your goals and made an exit, but the interesting question is: Who bought Parlamind and how much money did they invest in this acquisition?
parlamind now belongs to the 4TechnologyGroup (www.4tech.group). The 4TechnologyGroup is an association of innovative German tech companies with a long track record in the fields of communications technologies. Three innovative and experienced German technology companies form the 4TechnologyGroup. 4TechnologyGroup develops and operates comprehensive solutions for enterprise communication and customer service processing. We provide cloud-based omni-channel contact centers, large conferencing platforms and autonomous dialog systems, pushing innovation, efficiency and value for our customers. With our core expertise in communication and AI, we improve the ability of your customer service organization to communicate.
GTEC supported Parlamind from the very beginning and continued supporting you until your exit. What was unique about GTEC?
I would say besides all the super helpful infrastructure and the nice, very central office, its was mostly about the networking events and the GTEC team that made a real difference. Benjamin and the whole GTEC team were always super caring about the founders and young companies and have always given a lot of support to us. We really enjoyed our time at the GTEC.
Thank you Tina. GTEC saw potential in the startup and decided to support it from an early stage on. Benjamin, being the Founder and Managing Director of GTEC and having been involved directly in the selection process, what were the reasons for GTEC to get involved?
Parlamind was one of the first companies we supported in 2015. We particularly liked that this was a R&D based venture spin-out from a university working on some really interesting technology aspect for AI.
Besides the NO BULLSHIT LAB, which offers a workplace to early stage startups, as well as mentoring and various workshops, in what other way did GTEC support Parlamind?
The funding-round came through our network of Mentors and Experts – many of them acting also as Business Angels such as Gero Decker and Fabian Westerheide. Amongst others, I was also a earlier supporter and joined the funding round. Some of the pilot projects to test the software that Parlamind developed came through our corporate network and the management team had the chance to pitch several leading corporates through GTEC.
Supporting Parlamind also had a higher goal and the just founded GTEC FOUNDATION is on the mission to fulfill exactly that Mission. Myriam, Founding Managing Director of the GTEC Foundation – In what way does Parlamind have an impact on society?
Parlamind’s solution offers AI powered customer service. Clients gather experience with AI interaction as it solves very practical problems for them. This interaction in a day to day task is the best way to let people learn more about technological development. As customized experience it lowers the barrier to interact with deep tech. The impact on society arises from a high amount of exactly such interactions. They serve as a source of education, as a step by step training for a world where AI will take over significant areas of our daily interactions completely. To prepare and train is key not only to prevent overwhelm. But also to get into a state of mind where society can involve into discussions about how our life shall look like; how we want to use AI as the super power of our time to solve major problems and how we want to make sure noone is left behind. As much as this is a technical question it is a social and thereby political question we need to get involved into. Parlamind serves as one of many impactful puzzle pieces.
The GTEC FOUNDATION will continue supporting startups and entrepreneurs through programs like the NO BULLSHIT LAB, Open Lectures, workshops and much more, but what is the foundation at its core? What is the mission?
The GTEC Foundation is committed to contribute to a sustainable, fearless and curious society with technology and entrepreneurship at its core. Our experience as tech entrepreneurs is that there is a high need for advancing technological education for more political responsibility, entrepreneurial success and societies contribution. We are absolutely convinced that technology is the power to shape a better future. We not only see high impact but also high urgency in this task as the current political and social atmosphere demonstrates our low resilience of our humanitarian and democratic values on the one hand and the fundamental lack of technological understanding on the other.
What is in for the future, what plans do you have for the foundation?
A team of outstanding experts in the field of media, psychology, neuroscience, communication scientists, social media, education, political lobbying, movie production, art and of course tech designs and delivers education projects.
On the one hand, we are taking part in influencing political committees fostering their digital agenda. We explain deep tech and the need for a supportive legal framework combined with the right entrepreneurial examples to support a qualified public discussion.
On the other hand, we have a strong program to support start-ups that deliver deep tech for good. Our focus is clearly defined by the UN sustainability goals and tech solutions that pay into them.
Among our work, educating society is by far the most challenging task. Media is currently almost exclusively covering bad tech news and high scepticism dominates our views on optimistic future scenarios. We are planning to build a campus that will serve as an utopia museum for a real life experience of a sustainable, highly preferable version of our future. To get it started, we are planning pop-up museums in highly frequented areas where we can share newest developments and invite people to learn more and participate into our effort to shape a better life.