Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase has announced that it is acquiring Indian AI startup Agara, to make it easier for users to access its service and seek assistance. The companies did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition deal, but it is estimated to be between $40 million and $50 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Coinbase said that the deal would bring Agara’s deep proficiency in machine learning and natural language processing to the its engineering team. “We plan to leverage Agara’s powerful Deep Learning and Conversational AI technology to automate and enhance our customer experience (CX) tools. Improving our CX remains a top priority for Coinbase — in the past few months we have increased our support staff headcount by 5x and announced that we’ll deliver 24/7 phone support and live messaging by end of year. Through this acquisition, we’ll be able to provide our customers with new personalized, intelligent, and real-time support options,” EVP of Engineering at Coinbase, Manish Gupta, said in a statement.
Agara specialises in machine learning and natural language processing, which it uses to improve user experience. The startup has attracted several other major companies across the globe to its shores, and offers integrations with a number of popular services such as Salesforce, Shopify, and Twilio. It currently runs operations in India and the U.S.
According to data intelligence platform Tracxn, Agara had raised about $7 million from Blume Ventures, RTP Global, UTEC Japan, and Kleiner Perkins, prior to the acquisition. Agara said that it will shift its focus to Coinbase after the acquisition.
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“We started the firm largely looking at two things. One was customer experience and support. The second was machine learning. The idea was to create an ML tech stack and apply that to customer care,” said Abhimanyu Singh, Agara’s Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Some of the more complicated things we do are around phone calls. We have been working to automate much of, if not all, of the support that happens through phone calls,” he added.
The past few months has been a busy one for Coinbase as it has closed various deals and ventured into new spaces. Notably, it announced in October that it will launch a marketplace for NFTs before the end of the year. Also in October, the cryptocurrency exchange firm signed a multi-year deal to become the exclusive cryptocurrency platform partner of the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League, and USA Basketball. And now, —the acquisition of Agara.
Coinbase’s acquisition of Agara is its first startup acquisition in India, and it comes months after Coinbase laid out its strategy to develop a tech hub in India. For this purpose, Coinbase hired Pankaj Gupta, a former Google Pay executive, to lead its India development centre. As part of the acquisition deal, Agara’s tech team — a host of which works from India — will join Coinbase. The deal is expected to close later this year.