Consumer banking startup venture Kasisto, which employs artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance retail and consumer banking, has secured investment from Singapore-based financial services major DBS Bank.
Financial terms of the DBS investment are undisclosed, though it was described as a ‘strategic investment’ by DBS.
To date, Kasisto, set up in 2014, has secured $2.25 million in seed funding from New York Angels, Two Sigma Investments and Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, among others, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
Additionally, its KAI platform powers the virtual assistant in the mobile-only Digibank service launched by DBS in India. The Kasisto investment and Digibank launch are part of a push by DBS to leverage on the current growth in financial technology (fintech) impacting the financial sector globally. The startup is led by the founding team of Zor Gorelov (CEO), Sasha Caskey and Dror Oren.
Kasisto, a spinoff of SRI, provides a conversational AI system that functions as a virtual personal assistant, aimed at enabling banks to engage their customers by quickly performing complex transactions on mobile devices through speech, text and touch. The venture intends to expand its applications to areas beyond the financial services sector.
“DBS is at the forefront of innovation in banking and a great example of the kind of massive change that is transforming the face of consumer banking. It’s exciting to work with them on services designed for a new generation of banking consumers who think differently about money and expect a very different set of capabilities from their banks,” commented Gorolev.
The KAI virtual assistants in digibank are designed to anticipate and answer thousands of customer questions, as well as assist customers perform real-time banking transactions.
Digibank – which speaks to what Infosys co-founder and futurist Nandan Nilekani calls the “WhatsApp moment in banking ” – was officially unveiled in India in today. It is meant to operate as a completely paperless, signatureless and branchless experience, with the aim of letting customers open an account quickly and effortlessly using just their Aadhaar, a biometrics-enabled ID, at any of DBS’ partner network of cafes across India.
DBS CEO Piyush Gupta shared: “With the advent of technology, banking as we know it is being completely transformed. digibank places an entire bank in our customers’ hands, freeing up their valuable time, and allowing them to ‘Live More, Bank Less.’ For DBS, digibank is also a potential gamechanger, enabling us to go beyond the confines of a brick and mortar network to extend our reach in huge geographies like India.”