Coinbase is acquiring the startup Agara, which operates an AI-powered customer support platform, the two said Tuesday, as the cryptocurrency exchange looks to make it easier for users to join the service and seek assistance.
The firms didn’t share the financial details of the acquisition, but the size of the deal is between $40 million and $50 million, two people familiar with the matter told me. A Coinbase spokesperson declined to comment. Agara co-founder and chief executive Abhimanyu also declined to comment on the size of the deal, citing confidentiality agreement.
Four-year-old Agara, which started its journey in India and runs operations in the U.S. as well, had raised about $7 million from Blume Ventures, RTP Global, UTEC Japan and Kleiner Perkins prior to the acquisition, according to data intelligence platform Tracxn.
Agara has built deep expertise in machine learning and natural language processing that it uses to improve user experience. The startup, which employs over 40 people, has amassed several larger customers across the globe and offers integrations with a number of popular services such as Salesforce, Shopify and Twilio. After the acquisition, Agara will shift focus to Coinbase, Abhimanyu told TechCrunch in an interview.
“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. “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 said.
The startup’s tech team -- a bulk of which works from India -- will join Coinbase as part of the deal, he said. The two firms expect to close the deal later this year. The move comes months after Coinbase laid out its strategy to build a tech hub in India and hired Pankaj Gupta, a former Google Pay executive, in the country.
“We plan to leverage Agara’s powerful 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,” said Manish Gupta, EVP of Engineering at Coinbase, in a statement.