Uniphore completed ten years in 2018 and has plans to step on the gas. However, for Umesh Sachdev, co-founder of IIT-Madras incubated Uniphore Software Systems, getting the ‘Unicorn’ tag, though much-coveted, is not a target, as he believes that it will come naturally given the pace at which the company is growing.
Rather, he wants to make Uniphore, a provider of speech recognition solutions for enterprises, a multi-billion dollar enterprise product company globally, in another five to seven years. “My wish is to build the company into an Indian product multinational,” Sachdev said. He said that the company may achieve the Unicorn status in another four to five years.
To become a global player, Uniphore needs to grow into newer geographies and better the product offering. “In the last ten years, besides India we have grown into Asia Pacific and are expanding our Vietnam and Singapore footprints. And the best part of the story is that we have been accepted by large corporate companies,” he said. Uniphore entered the US market in June 2018. “In just two months time, we have been able to onboard a large insurance company, a financial sevices major and a retail giant in the US,” he said.
Uniphore has worked with over 70 enterprise customers and served over four million end-users. Its investors include ex-Cisco chairman John Chambers, IDG Ventures India, IIFL, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Ray Stata, YourNest Angel Fund and India Angel Network.
Being a deep technology company, it has been constantly updating its technological prowess by scaling up its research and development (R&D) activities. The company, evey year, increases its R&D spend by almost cent per cent. “We are working on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our earlier investments on these verticals are beginning to pay off now.”
Explaining the challenges the start-up faced in its earlier days, he said: “From the lab at the IIT-Madras to this stage, we had created produts for speech recognition and analysis, without having the comfort of any templates. Even while we had started getting customers, we were validating product features at the same time, in order to strengthen our technology and algorithms,” he said.
The company has made path-breaking innovations by developing products and solutions for enhancing interactions between humans and machines based on speech recognition. Its three products—auMina, Akeira, and amVoice—enable software applications to decipher human voice to help enterprises to deliver best customer experiences. auMina is a voice analytics software, Akeira is a virtual assistant and am Voice is a biometric solution.
Sachdev said that he plans to better the existing products by adding more and more features as it aims to spread into more overseas geographies. The company wiil be looking at Australia and New Zealand in the near future.
Uniphore will also be looking at inorganic growth. It is especially looking at startups in Isreal, the US and Asia.