Why did we invest in Brance?

Eximius Ventures
8 min readOct 9, 2023

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Brance is a conversational AI tool that uses Generative AI to develop three communication tools across multiple languages; Chatman — an AI-bot that assists inside sales and customer support teams in collecting, verifying, and fulfilling leads, Voiceman — an AI voicebot that assists inside sales and customer support teams in fulfilling leads/customer requests using voice chats and calls in vernacular languages, and Super Search — an assistive search engine for e-commerce companies and marketplaces.

They raised a $250K funding round in 2023 which featured participation from Eximius Ventures and FirstCheque.

We built conviction in the team’s vision due to the following reasons:

1) The Rising Importance of Customer Support and Inside Sales

As per Gartner, over 80% of customers reported that receiving value during a service experience makes them more likely to repurchase even when given a chance to switch to a competitor. This makes after-sales support very important to stand above the competition. Further, companies also tend to find it nearly 5 times as costly to acquire new customers over retaining old ones.

However, while the pressing need for a customer support framework is evident, companies still need to bear inordinate costs to ensure it. As per IBM, over 265 million customer support requests are made every year, and it costs businesses a massive $1.3 trillion to service them. To ensure that their customers don’t face a hassle while accessing support, companies need to maintain a slew of customer service agents who need to be well-versed in the company’s offerings to truly be of service. The recruiting cost of such professionals in conjunction with the cost of training them extensively can bear very heavy on any company’s expenses.

Therefore, while more companies are looking to optimise their customer support, there is still massive expenditure that needs to be incurred to ensure that it can satisfy their customers’ needs. As a result, multiple companies have been automating this process to both reduce costs and improve efficiency. However, while the existing solutions are indeed impressive, they are still restricted in their ability to hold conversations with clients and comprehend them.

This problem statement goes beyond the customer support industry. Because inside sales tend to be significant growth drivers across industries and market segments, companies are looking for solutions that can automate the process and integrate it with customer support to enhance the sales pipeline. To facilitate this more efficiently, companies need solutions that can not only automate the process, but also imbue it with a degree of intelligence that the existing infrastructure is not able to achieve.

2) Increasing Horizontal Use-Cases for Generative AI

It wouldn’t be imprecise to term the past few years as the onset of the generative AI epoch. While consistent breakthroughs were being made already, GPT-3’s launch in 2020 can be considered a remarkable achievement that completely revamped the entire landscape. Having been trained on an extensive 175 billion parameters, GPT-3 was the largest neural network produced and a great statement for the feasibility of the technology. Thus, as an outcome of the model’s success, people across the world were suddenly treated to the wonders of generative AI that allowed them to generate multi-format content with the power of prompts.

Powered by this technology, companies across the world started integrating generative AI into their processes to make them more efficient. As per a McKinsey report, generative AI is bound to add $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion to the global GDP annually. Current generative AI and other technologies have the potential to automate work activities that absorb 60 to 70 percent of employees’ time, thus improving efficiency and productivity across the company.

Therefore, given the potency of the technology, we see a lot of horizontal use cases for the technology emerging that add to its versatility. Moreover, given the scope of the customer-service market and the pervading problem statements discussed in the preceding point, we were watchful of the generative AI development and the ecosystem’s ability to develop solutions that make customer support more viable for companies.

Another key use case of such a product would be for inside sales. Inside sales typically involve reaching out to prospective customers remotely. Due to the convenience and the swiftness that are inherent to this approach, companies are increasingly relying on inside sales to accelerate their growth. In an ecosystem that asks companies to perpetually optimise on swiftness to conquer their target market, inside sales is emerging as a great solution.

An AI that is capable enough to hold a conversation with a customer to solve their grievances can also be a competent sales representative that can boost any company’s top line.

3) An Incredibly Capable Team

While the scope and the legitimacy of the problem statement were evident to us, it needed a team that was not only eminently capable in terms of technical know-how, but could also envision the product and its evolution in vivid detail. This requirement was well-furnished by the team behind Brance; Ayush Gupta, Anuj Purani, and Kshitij Chaudhary.

Ayush is an NSIT and Stanford alumnus. He had previously worked at Apple as a Senior Machine Learning Research Engineer where he focused on applied research within the Apple Media Products Search Science Team, showcasing his practical experience in developing AI solutions.

Anuj is an NSIT alumnus as well who completed his Master’s from the University of Michigan. He has also worked at Apple as a Senior ASIC Design Verification Engineer which demonstrated his expertise in designing and verifying complex systems.

Kshitij graduated from IITD and then proceeded to complete his MBA from IIMB. He has attained veritable experience working at esteemed companies like BCG (Consultant), Shuttl (AVP — Growth), and House of Beauty (Head of Growth). During his tenure across these companies, he validated his expertise in strategy development, user/customer acquisition, user retention, conversion optimization, etc.

Thus, a key asset for Brance has been the fact it is powered by a team that is not only distinguished in its technological capabilities, but also features founders who possess complimentary skillsets. This posits Brance in a special stratum amongst startup founders.

4) Comprehensive and Adaptable Product Offerings

As a result of their subject matter expertise and ear-to-the-ground approach, the founders of Brance were able to identify the problem statement of enabling a customer support and inside sales framework utilizing AI. Thus, they are looking to build automated human-like conversational AI tools that reduce the reliance on customer support and sales teams in companies.

Brance is looking to build an entire ecosystem of products that can cater to the purpose.

This ecosystem will be chiefly comprised of three offerings:

1) Chatman: A massive problem that businesses around the world face is high customer drop-off when engaging with ads. Even when they do engage with an ad, conversion takes a long time. With Chatman, businesses will be able to answer leads and collect requirements anytime, anywhere, with utmost accuracy using a Gen AI model-trained platform. Chatman can take the initial requirement and send the initial proposal in minutes. This will reduce drop-off, increase conversion, and promote customer satisfaction.

2) Voiceman: To elevate the experience, Voiceman will enable the user/customer to talk to an AI in real time. This human-like AI customer support will be able to provide hyper-personalized, and correct responses to the users/customers in a human-like tone in real-time, thus resolving their grievances accurately.

3) Super Search: Super Search Visualization provides hyper-personalized advisory-based targeted searches for many companies. The product will seek to educate and consult the customer like a real salesman and provide tailored product recommendations. This will mimic the offline buying experience for the buyers.

They can create differentiation from the competition by adopting a vertically-compressed model that is trained on the company’s data and workflows. This allows the model to be more precise in its functioning and complement their inside sales and customer support teams perfectly, while reducing cost.

Brance’s key USP lies in its ability to fulfill the responsibilities of an inside sales representative along with an efficient customer support functionality. Due to the versatility of the products, Brance is able to not just collect leads but also fulfill them more promptly than a typical representative. While conversing with customers, Brance can resolve customers’ queries, and identify their needs to enhance the sales pipeline of the company. Therefore, the company can go beyond the customer support market to sales and define a unique position for itself in the landscape.

Conclusion

Given the fact that customers overwhelmingly prefer to stick with a company with satisfactory customer support over any competitor, companies across the world are looking more diligently at their customer support offerings and enhancing their efficiency by incorporating inside sales solutions. This is also validated by the fact acquiring more customers is a considerably more expensive process than keeping old ones. However, as evident as this need is, resolving customer grievances is a costly process. Recruiting adequate customer support staff and training them demands a high degree of financial muscle from any company. This problem also plagues the inside sales space. This is why companies around the world are looking towards new frontier technology that can change this paradigm.

Horizontal generative AI can be the answer to this woe. Ever since the launch of GPT 3, companies around the world have experienced that using generative AI can make them more efficient and enhance their employees’ productivity. This rise in the usage of generative AI has also propelled an increase in ‘horizontal’ solutions that seek to resolve problem statements across sectors. A couple of major problem statements that can be resolved by this technology are customer support and inside sales.

While the need for a solution and the scope of the problem were already quite evident, building for such a problem requires a distinguished team with a distinguished approach. This is completely satisfied by Brance. They combine their technical know-how with an intimate understanding of the market to build a set of solutions that go to the very heart of the problem.

Speaking about the solutions, Brance is looking to build an ecosystem of versatile solutions that range from interactive chatbots, voice bots to incredibly personalized search experiences. These bring a degree of automation that can not only redefine the customer support industry but also the inside sales industry at large. They address the most pressing needs of the market in a way that leverages the team’s greatest strengths.

Thus, we are very proud to be a part of Brance’s journey and wish the team all the best!

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