Reetu Kainulainen (Co-Founder, CEO) and Sarah Al-Hussaini (Co-Founder, COO) Luke Marshall
What inspired you to found your startup?
We won a hackathon with a chat-based assistant for exhibition centers. While working with our first customer, we spent time in their call center. There were many agents, and they were stressed and overworked with repetitive tasks. That’s when we decided to focus on building AI to support these agents.
How are you different? What is your unique value proposition?
We are a complete Contact Center AI solution for our clients. Our AI integrates into all text-based channels (chat, email, and social) and all languages. We have end-to-end conversation coverage, from automation of Level 1 cases to human+machine augmentation of complex situations.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
We want to transform how people work in customer service. Customer service is one of the world’s most stressful jobs, but more people work in it than almost any other industry. AI that augments these agents has the potential to change millions of lives globally, and to take CX to the next level.
What do you want to achieve next year?
We are hyper-focused on building the most scalable product in this industry. Our deep learning technology makes us fully language-agnostic and we target underserved language markets, including German + Nordics, to scale rapidly. We are building out our teams across Berlin and Helsinki.
Why do people want to work at your company?
Our technology is market-leading. We are a small team – based across Helsinki and Berlin – with a big vision, and are growing rapidly. We’re backed by Techstars and some of Europe’s biggest name VCs. We’re proven; we’ve won major enterprise clients, and are focusing heavily on our European expansion.
What has been the most important milestone so far?
Joining the SAP.iO Foundry w/ Techstars last September enabled us to build a strong, expansive network across the Berlin ecosystem. We acquired mentors and our first German client (Zalando). We became an SAP partner, with AI powering their Contact Center. We now have our 2nd HQ in Berlin.
Looking back at your whole development story — what makes you most proud?
We are proudest of the strong results we are delivering our clients. Today our product is live in the customer service teams of some of Europe’s leading brands, including Zalando, Telia, and Finnair. We are changing the narrative, from human vs. machine to human + machine.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Customer service is going through a revolution. As automation of simple requests becomes the status quo, businesses will increasingly differentiate through the quality of their human touch. Customer service will be less labor intensive, and will be higher skilled work. We will provide the tech backbone to this era.
What is your impression of launching a startup from your based city?
Berlin is a hotbed for startups. Great talent is pouring in from surrounding European countries. The cost of living is low. There is VC money, a culture of experimentation, and youth.
What is your impression of the german startup scene? Would you change anything?
As a Finnish startup, we see Germany lacking in significant state funding and grants to startups. There should be more public funded schemes to support early innovators.
ultimate.ai was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Germany“, November 2018.