Tuesday, April 19, 2016

VC: Goldman Sachs Leads $30 Million Round for Artificial Intelligence-based, Automated Copywriting Service

From TechCrunch:
Sometime today you’re going to read a marketing message that was probably written by Persado‘s software — and if you haven’t, Goldman Sachs has led a $30 million investment into the company to make sure you will soon.

Persado has developed software that can write what co-founder Assaf Baciu calls “cognitive content”, which he says is copywriting primed to get readers to engage.

“We’ve run 4,000 campaigns and our average uplift on conversion rates is 49.5%,” Baciu boasted. That includes all types of messaging, from up-selling, to cross-selling, to (I’m assuming) just selling.
Baciu and his co-founder Alex Vratskides began working on the idea that would become Persado five years ago, and the two men spun out the business from Upstream Systems in 2012.

Persado Wheel of EmotionsInitially backed by Bain Capital Ventures, Persado has gone on to raise additional funding from the European investment firm StarVest Partners, and the venture arms of banking and credit card giants Citi Ventures and American Express Ventures.

All of the company’s previous investors participated in the most recent round.

With 200 employees and offices in New York, San Francisco, London, the company’s biggest issue has been spreading the word about its existing applications and the other industries that could be influenced by the technology.

“Cognitive content has a much broader applicability if you think that in the next few years everyone wants to inspire action,” says Baciu. “If you have a fitbit device and you want motivation to run the next 5K…. if you’re in the market for dating and you want to improve your chances…. All of these are examples of areas where cognitive content can play a role.”

While Persado remains focused on marketing campaigns for now, in the next few years the company plans to start pursuing opportunities for pushing health and wellness prompts in apps and other areas, says Baciu....MORE