Pypestream, a company that automates customer engagement with conversational artificial intelligence (AI), has appointed two new board members: Bart Swanson and Amitabh Sharma. Swanson is a technology industry leader who serves on the boards of Zoom, Otter.ai, Evolv.ai, and Impossible Foods Inc., as well as an Advisor to Horizons Ventures. Sharma is a senior consultant with Spencer Stuart leading their IT Services Practice from Silicon Valley, working closely with CEOs, boards and management teams.
“I spent 15 years in e-commerce with customer service organizations and I know that customer satisfaction is critical, especially now with the acceleration we have seen online. The industry is at an inflection point as digital transforms and replaces traditional call centers, and Pypestream is at the forefront of this shift,” said Swanson. “There are significant structural changes happening in customer experience as AI and new technologies like natural language processing and speech to text create the next big opportunity to engage customers like never before, and have a real impact on brands.”
Swanson previously served on the boards of DeepMind, Summly and Onavo, acquired by Google, Yahoo and Facebook, respectively. During 2010 and 2011, Bart was Chief Operating Officer of Badoo, prior to which he spent three years as Managing Director at GSI Commerce International (later eBay Enterprise). Before joining GSI Commerce International, Bart held several roles, including General Manager, at Amazon.com.
“Customer service is highly-fragmented with a massive, total addressable market that includes both service providers and brand clients. There used to be a linear connection between customer growth and the staff you need for service, but digital and AI break that linearity by helping companies to virtually scale contact agents,” said Sharma. “I was an early believer and investor in Richard (the founder and CEO of Pypestream) and the business, as well as the strength of its IP and patents.”
An operator turned advisor, Sharma has broad experience in the tech-enabled services space. His clients include large global companies, private equity and venture capital portfolio companies, and family-owned businesses. Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Sharma spent 13 years at another international search firm, leading its global enterprise technology practice, and its Asia Pacific technology and communications practice. Earlier in his career, Sharma served as chief operating officer of London-based Active Private Equity, where he led growth and operating maturity at portfolio companies through people, technology, and operations interventions.
“It is a true honor and validation to have Bart and Amitabh join our board at a time when we are looking to grow our revenue another 100% this year and beyond. Each will help me in the trenches, bringing to bear decades of high-growth, software experience,” said Richard Smullen, CEO and Founder, Pypestream. “To have a Zoom board member join us now is a strong sign to the market that we have done the work and Pypestream is here to win in the race to digitize customer engagement.”
Pypestream today launched its new Customer Engagement Center (CEC), a next-generation, cloud-based solution that is designed to help customers to interact directly with brands on any device, at any time. The CEC automates all customer interactions — proactive and reactive — and seamlessly escalates to cloud contact centers. With the Pypestream CEC, brands become fully automated, digital brands powered by AI on a reliable, always-on solution that offers the flexibility to scale quickly and easily. Pypestream has raised $40 million in Series A funding to date, led by W. R. Berkley Corporation. Here for more on Pypestream CEC.
Originally published in BusinessWire