Cairo-based start-up DXwand has secured $1 million in new funding to expand its operations across the Mena region and further develop its AI-driven software that automates text and voice conversations between customers and businesses.
The investment round was led by Shanghai-based Huashan Capital with commitments from angel investors, including Mohsen Abulleil and Ahmed Bakeer. to invest in the company, DXwand said in a statement on Sunday.
US venture capital firm SOSV, the earliest investor in DXwand’s initial seed round, also supported the company in the funding round.
“Conversational interfaces are the future of user engagement and we think that the DXwand team is very well positioned thanks to their proprietary Arabic dialects NLP [Natural Language Processing] and personalised recommendations engines that set them apart from the rest of the competitors,” said Oscar Ramos, a general partner at SOSV.
The company's AI-driven software automates text and voice conversations between customers and businesses in call centres, on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, or on a website.
DXwand’s AI tool understands slang in both Arabic and English and can extract insights from conversations and display them on dashboards for businesses to make instant, informed decisions to boost sales and growth, it said.
“What we liked about DXwand was that it provided a clear quantifiable value proposition to its clients — reducing customer service time by 70 per cent, greatly reducing the manpower needed, and driving up to three times higher customer engagement,” said David Chen of Huashan Capital.
“AI-powered customer services are blossoming across the globe in every customer-facing interaction, and we’re looking forward to supporting DXwand’s efforts to expand into the whole Mena region,” Mr Chen added.
Artificial intelligence will be the common theme in the top 10 technology trends in the next few years and these are expected to quicken breakthroughs across critical economic sectors and society, the Alibaba Damo Academy said earlier this year.
“With gaining more trust from various stakeholders to lead the AI services industry in Mena, and having been achieving 11X year-over-year growth, we look forward to propelling this success even more in the coming period,” said Ahmed Mahmoud, founder and chief executive at DXwand.
Total financing from venture capital funds in the Middle East rose 132 per cent to almost $2 billion last year, with the total number of deals up 5 per cent to 410, according to data platform Magnitt.
The total funding value in the Mena region was driven by mega funding rounds such as Egypt’s Paymob and Saudi Arabia’s Hyperpay, whose rounds combined accounted for almost half of the amount raised in the month of May, according to data from venture capital platform Wamda.
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In May, start-ups in the Mena region raised $176m from 42 deals, it added.
The amount raised is 40 per cent less month-on-month in investment value, but about 63 per cent higher year on year, Wamda said in a statement earlier this month.
Start-ups in the Mena region raised $299m and $297m in March and April this year, respectively.
DXwand secured “its second investment deal with investors they met last year during our Hangout with VCs event,” said Amr Mahfouz, chief executive of Egypt's Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).
“This is part of ITIDA’s mandate to attract more VCs to the ecosystem in Egypt to help more companies to scale and accelerate their revenue growth.”