Snap Inc., the parent company of US multimedia messaging app Snapchat, is set to acquire Israeli company Voca.ai for an estimated $70 million, an anonymous source tells Israeli daily Calcalist.
Founded in 2017 by Dr. Alan Bekker, current CTO, and serial entrepreneur Einav Itamar, current CEO, Voca provides call center voice assistants based on artificial intelligence technology. The company has built a human-friendly agent designed to reduce the size and cost of call centers, while still increasing customer satisfaction.
Voca.ai has raised $6 million to date from investors like American Express Ventures. Calcalist reports that the company employs 35 people who will be integrated into Snap following the acquisition.
Snapchat is the mobile messaging app created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students at Stanford University. The app, which is popular among millennials, was released in 2011. Known for “sharing a moment,” pictures and messages, or “Stories,” on Snapchat are only available for a short time
Although Snapchat hasn’t revealed what it intends to do with Voca.ai’s technology, the Israeli company is known for combining AI and voice forensic technologies to find specific patterns in voice, tone, and other sounds that people produce as they speak. In other words, the startup’s technology and agent can be modified for other uses which could be what attracted the US messaging giant.
This isn’t the first time that Snap has acquired an Israeli company. In 2016, the company purchased Israeli augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for at least $30 million.
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