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8VC’s Investment in Ushur, Intelligent Automation for Client-Facing Workflows

Since leading Ushur’s Series A in 2018, we have watched them dramatically grow their intelligent automation (IA) capabilities and traction. We are excited to announce 8VC’s participation in Ushur’s $25M Series B, led by Third Point Ventures, alongside Pentland Group. We are thrilled to be continuing to partner with Ushur as they revamp insurance, financial services, and healthcare.

Ushur is defining a new category of IA, unifying disparate areas of enterprise automation. Their end-to-end capabilities enable automation across marketing, claims processing, customer service, and internal business logic. Ushur is uniquely positioned to handle business-critical, client-facing applications, driving top-line revenue growth and improving customer satisfaction.

The Acute Need for Smart Enterprise Transformation in Insurance and Financial Services

In the years since our partner Joe Lonsdale first published The Smart Enterprise Wave, the points raised have only become sharper, especially in insurance and financial services. The volume of digital information has continued to skyrocket, while operational complexity has grown alongside, exacerbated by ever-changing compliance requirements. 81% of insurance executives now describe their business processes as “complex” or “very complex [1].”

The business implications of the ongoing push for technology-driven process simplification are enormous. The multi-billion-dollar process automation market is growing at double-digit rates [2], with the insurance and finance industry accounting for the plurality of spend [3]. However, challenges in uptake persist for the traditional robotic process automation (RPA) players that fill this niche. Such companies remain wedded to system integrators (SIs) for deployment, creating friction between the engineers who implement the software and the enterprise teams whose workflows the software is ostensibly optimizing. It comes as no surprise then that RPA has been constrained to back-office processes that are simple and standardized. RPA companies have made overtures of introducing user-friendly AI modules that can simplify business processes, but the underlying system architecture was not designed for these applications, and the products have been too disordered to address any real client-facing needs.

Ushur advances on the RPA paradigm with an easily deployable, no-code platform constructed from the ground-up for client-facing workflows. Their broader capabilities of IA are purpose-built for the breadth of structured and unstructured data in customer interactions. Ushur is thus able to address more complex needs throughout the customer journey in enterprises.

Ushur advances on the RPA paradigm with an easily deployable, no-code platform constructed from the ground-up for client-facing workflows. Their broader capabilities of IA are purpose-built for the breadth of structured and unstructured data in customer interactions. Ushur is thus able to address more complex needs throughout the customer journey in enterprises.

 

Ushur’s No-Code Automation Platform Delivers Modernizing and Unifying Infrastructure

When our advisor and fellow Ushur investor Pankaj Patel first introduced us to Simha Sadasiva and Henry Peter, Ushur’s founding CEO and CTO, it was evident they had the right backgrounds to solve problems for large enterprise customers. Through their experience in systems architecture and telecom, they had a deep understanding around building the complex connectors necessary to interface with the patchwork of back-ends stubbornly resident in legacy firms. In our perspective, success in the automation space is dependent on having a team that can architect for effective data transfer with these legacy back-ends, even more than having applied machine learning skills. Simha and Henry embody that view. They further brought to Ushur a cadre of engineers from their teams at prior companies, solidifying that area of talent and testifying to their leadership. Watching Ushur build their cloud-native, data-first tech foundation exemplified how systems and infrastructure expertise is key to delivering value for legacy enterprises.

Ushur’s value proposition was apparent from the first demo. The sophistication of the architecture provided a capable mechanism for automating marketing campaigns and claims-data intake. This functionality matched our intuitions around the market need for a new type of automation platform. Whereas preexisting RPA offerings have been relegated to repeatable back-office tasks, Ushur could handle more complicated, client-facing interactions. Their system can thus facilitate top-line growth through broader client outreach, and improve customer satisfaction with streamlined claims processing. Equally important, Ushur’s no-code interface was explicitly designed to make workflow construction accessible to business leaders, not just SI groups.

The elegance of Ushur’s interface masks the depth and flexibility of the platform. Layering capabilities for automation throughout the enterprise customer journey has been the cornerstone of Ushur’s development strategy. By building end-to-end automation modules, they reach increasingly broad types of personas inside and outside the enterprise. Touching these personas allows them to address progressively greater numbers of use cases. Handing those use cases leads to the creation of continually larger amounts of business value.

Ushur’s business value now encompasses: conversational AI micro-engagements for sales and marketing outreach, claims document processing and data extraction with back-end data feeds, topic classification using unstructured email data for customer service triage, and full-stack business process automation. Across these applications, Ushur couples its positioning in client-facing workflows with conduits into the enterprise’s system-of-record data stores. Unifying the front-end and internal components has repeatedly enabled Ushur to expand into new business units after landing in an enterprise.

Ushur delivers ROI quickly following deployment. An early customer’s preexisting, manual claims processing workflow spanned three weeks, and required representatives to reach out to claimants at a cost of $17 per call. Roughly six calls were required for the rep to finally connect with the policyholder. Ushur succeeded in automating half the outbound calls, reducing the claims process to a single hour. The enterprise realized millions of dollars in productivity gains – and provided a massively more convenient experience for their clients.

 

Ushur: Powering a Future of AI-Enhanced, Data-Driven Productivity and Growth

As Ushur’s platform continues to grow, so does industry demand. Nearly half of enterprises expect AI to increase revenues and improve customer satisfaction [4]. Yet, the industry has been slow to modernize. Only one-third of financial services organizations have implemented any AI in their marketing and only one-quarter have done so in product development [5]. Operational costs remain the largest expenditure in property and casualty insurance, with claims management representing the most significant component [6]. Companies that have kept their technology stagnant are being beaten on every dimension: Top-quartile enterprises are putting less than half as much capital into operations as are ones in the bottom quartile. Both claims processing costs and processing times drop by more than 50% when new digital solutions are adopted, while regulatory costs are likewise lowered, and customer satisfaction is raised.

Ushur is a true end-to-end Smart Enterprise solution in this capacity. The extensibility of their architecture has powered growth from client-facing workflows in marketing, through data-centric workflows for document processing, into enterprise-internal workflows involving customer service contact points and knowledge workers’ business processes. By touching each facet and persona of enterprise operations, Ushur creates top-line growth, helps bottom-line efficiency, and maximizes internal productivity.

We’re excited to partner with Ushur as their intelligent automation platform propels the insurance and financial services sector into the modern Smart Enterprise age.

 

Authors

Bhaskar Ghosh
Partner and CTO, 8VC

David Moskowitz
Principal, 8VC


[1] https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/strategy/us-cons-human-capital-trends-in-the-insurance-industry.pdf

[2] https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-09-21-gartner-says-worldwide-robotic-process-automation-software-revenue-to-reach-nearly-2-billion-in-2021

[3] https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/robotic-process-automation-rpa-market

[4] https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/artificial-intelligence-predictions-2019

[5] https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/artificial-intelligence/ai-adoption-advances-but-foundational-barriers-remain

[6] https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/financial%20services/our%20insights/what%20drives%20insurance%20operating%20costs/successfully_reducing_operating_costs.ashx

 

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