Five9, Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVN), a leading provider of the intelligent cloud contact center, today announced the execution of a definitive agreement to acquire Inference Solutions, the most widely deployed Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) platform.
“Intelligent and personalized self-service has become the preferred approach to service for customers,” said Donna Fluss, President, DMG Consulting, LLC. “IVAs, which are AI-enabled omni-channel self-service solutions, are going to play a major role in the future of customer service as they provide an outstanding service experience, while automating activities that previously required the attention of live agents. The acquisition of Inference by Five9 gives them a leading IVA solution, greatly expanding their self-service offerings.”
As a result of the global pandemic, customers are engaging with brands through contact centers more than ever. Typically, customers who call into a contact center must first get through frustrating touch tone menu trees, or deal with inefficient and limited speech recognition, leaving them frustrated by the time they talk to a live agent. Consequently, to deliver a better self-service experience and relieve stress on agents, companies are increasingly looking to Intelligent Virtual Agents.
IVAs utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate like humans, recognizing speech and text, understanding intent, deciphering different languages, and responding in a way that mimics human conversations. IVAs are rapidly becoming a requirement of the modern contact center and represent a major evolution from touch-tone or voice activated IVRs, which depend upon structured, fixed grammar interactions. By contrast, IVAs are conversational, more accurate and user-friendly. IVAs are being viewed as effective ‘digital workers’ for businesses, resulting in significant savings through increased call deflection rates, better-informed agents, or both.
“We believe adding Inference to the Five9 portfolio accelerates our leadership position in AI while also providing customers with a market leading IVA at a time when customers need efficient real-time assistance,” said Rowan Trollope, CEO, Five9. “Customer engagement is now more paramount than ever. Inference is a proven leader with a best in class IVA solution. We are excited to build upon our successful partnership with this acquisition.”
In addition to its market leading solution, the acquisition of Inference adds to the company’s global footprint with operations in Australia and expands marquee global service provider relationships, such as Evolve IT in Europe, Telstra in APAC, and AT&T in North America.
The Inference platform allows organizations of any size to benefit from the latest advances in speech-enabled Intelligent Virtual Agent technology. Previously, such technologies were only available to large organizations with significant budgets and highly skilled in-house development teams. Inference essentially democratizes these technologies and dramatically expands the addressable market.
Specifically, the Inference platform provides:
- A comprehensive drag-and-drop UI: All virtual agent applications can be configured and managed via a browser-based, no-code, visual builder. Using the Inference portal, non-technical business users can create content across multiple channels and IVA tasks.
- A gateway to conversational AI from leading cloud providers: Inference brings together a selection of market leading AI and speech services with the flexibility to switch between vendors at any time. Whether you need NLP from Amazon, tone-analysis from IBM Watson, or text-to-speech from Google, you can easily access these tools using pre-built connectors within the Inference UI.
- Omnichannel: Inference supports both voice and text-based channels including SMS, WhatsApp, and web-based chatbots. Channels can share common reporting within a single web front-end.
- Multi-lingual capabilities: Support for more than 125 languages and language variants for speech recognition, and more than 180 text-to-speech voices across 30 languages.
- Pre-packaged integrations and tasks: Inference provides access to a library of pre-configured IVA tasks, allowing organizations to design IVAs with minimal experience. Additionally, the task library includes integrations to popular CRM platforms, such as Salesforce, and CPaaS platforms, like Nexmo. Inference is also fully PCI compliant and provides more than 15 different payment gateways for credit card processing.
“Intelligent Virtual Agents enable a quicker, more efficient, self-service experience,” said Callan Schebella, CEO and Founder, Inference Solutions. “To meet today’s heightened customer expectations, we need to continue to innovate with disruptive technology. Our team at Inference is proud to join Five9, a recognized industry leader, and we look forward to shaping the future of customer service.”
The transaction is expected to close no later than January 5, 2021.
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, including the statements in the quotes from our CEO, Inference Solutions’ CEO and the President of DMG Consulting, LLC, including statements regarding the expected benefits to Five9 and its customers, the role of IVAS in the future of customer service, and the expected closing date of the transaction, that are based on our current expectations and involve numerous risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate. Risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include that we may not achieve the intended benefits of the acquisition or may not deliver our expected return on investment, we may incur unexpected costs or liabilities related to the transaction, the IVA platform may not achieve market acceptance by our customers, and that the transaction may not close when expected or at all. Additional risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include, among others: (i) the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have materially affected how we, our clients and business partners are operating, and the duration and extent to which it will impact our future results of operations and overall financial performance remain uncertain; (ii) our quarterly and annual results may fluctuate significantly, including as a result of the timing and success of new product and feature introductions by us, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business and may result in decreases in the price of our common stock; (iii) if we are unable to attract new clients or sell additional services and functionality to our existing clients, our revenue and revenue growth will be harmed; (iv) our recent rapid growth may not be indicative of our future growth, and even if we continue to grow rapidly, we may fail to manage our growth effectively; (v) failure to adequately retain and expand our sales force will impede our growth; (vi) if we fail to manage our technical operations infrastructure, our existing clients may experience service outages, our new clients may experience delays in the deployment of our solution and we could be subject to, among other things, claims for credits or damages; (vii) security breaches and improper access to or disclosure of our data or our clients’ data or other cyber-attacks on our systems, could result in litigation and regulatory risk, harm our reputation and our business; (viii) the markets in which we participate involve numerous competitors and are highly competitive, and if we do not compete effectively, our operating results could be harmed; (ix) if our existing clients terminate their subscriptions or reduce their subscriptions and related usage, our revenues and gross margins will be harmed and we will be required to spend more money to grow our client base; (x) our growth depends in part on the success of our strategic relationships with third parties and our failure to successfully grow and manage these relationships could harm our business; (xi) we have established, and are continuing to increase, our network of master agents and resellers to sell our solution; our failure to effectively develop, manage, and maintain this network could materially harm our revenues; (xii) we sell our solution to larger organizations that require longer sales and implementation cycles and often demand more configuration and integration services or customized features and functions that we may not offer, any of which could delay or prevent these sales and harm our growth rates, business and operating results; (xiii) because a significant percentage of our revenue is derived from existing clients, downturns or upturns in new sales will not be immediately reflected in our operating results and may be difficult to discern; (xiv) we rely on third-party telecommunications and internet service providers to provide our clients and their customers with telecommunication services and connectivity to our cloud contact center software and any failure by these service providers to provide reliable services could cause us to lose clients and subject us to claims for credits or damages, among other things; (xv) we have a history of losses and we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability; (xvi) the contact center software solutions market is subject to rapid technological change, and we must develop and sell incremental and new products in order to maintain and grow our business; (xvii) we may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs; (xviii) failure to comply with laws and regulations could harm our business and our reputation; (xix) we may not have sufficient cash to service our convertible senior notes and repay such notes, if required; and (xx) the other risks detailed from time-to-time under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and readers should not unduly rely on such statements. We undertake no obligation to update the information contained in this press release, including in any forward-looking statements.
Five9 is an industry-leading provider of cloud contact center solutions, bringing the power of cloud innovation to more than 2,000 customers worldwide and facilitating more than six billion call minutes annually. The Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center provides digital engagement, analytics, workflow automation, workforce optimization, and practical AI to create more human customer experiences, to engage and empower agents, and deliver tangible business results. Designed to be reliable, secure, compliant, and scalable, the Five9 platform helps contact centers increase productivity, be agile, boost revenue, and create customer trust and loyalty.