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Webio secures $4M to make credit collections easier with conversational AI

Webio-cofounders-Cormac-ONeill-Mark-Oppermann-Paul-Sweeney
Image credits: Webio

There is no denying that credit collection communication ranks among the hardest and most uncomfortable interpersonal communication scenarios. While some firms train & set standards which will ensure collectors have better conversational intelligence, other financial institutions are resorting to artificial intelligence (AI).

A leader in conversational AI for the credit, collections and payments industry, the Dublin-based Webio, is today announcing receiving $4M in Series A financing. The funding round was led by Finch Capital and will support its scaling efforts in a digitally growing world and amidst the present uncertain economic climate.

“Conversations about money are stressful and difficult, not only for the customer but also for agents tasked with having these conversations. Going digital means companies can create a whole new set of digital experiences that help customers feel more confident in having those difficult conversations and ultimately, stop them from falling into unnecessary and significant financial difficulty,” explains Webio’s co-founder and CEO.

Making credit conversations easier with AI 

Webio’s AI is already enabling leading UK and European companies to have conversations with their customers throughout their credit and collections journey. Customers can make enquiries, change payment dates and even organise new repayment schedules, all tailored to their circumstances and done through conversational AI and automation. The experience for customers is the feeling of assurance that they have been engaged with, listened to and interacted with fairly and appropriately. This in turn makes them more likely to keep to their repayment schedules.

Webio’s key selling point is its ability to ‘move the needle’ in predicting conversation outcomes by analysing what’s said and how it’s said. By early and accurately identifying characteristics such as an individual’s potential vulnerability, the AI can then guide that customer’s conversations through a range of next best steps dynamically which is a crucial capability in this market. Webio clients have the ability to take their collections conversations to the next level like never before. It better assists them to gather data faster, act sooner and with confidence.

The time is ripe for Webio

The rise of digital wallets, digital banking and buy now pay later (BNPL) offers have inflated the BNPL market to worth $23B today. At its current growth, it is projected that BNPL will grow to $91B by 2028, boosted by the entry of players such as Apple with its “Apple Pay Later” addon. Poor customer behaviour and increasing levels of bad debt are putting consumer finance institutions and BNPL companies such as Klarna and Afterpay under pressure.

Moreover, the economic environment is experiencing a seismic shift with inflation running wild and interest rate hikes expected later in the year. Already half of the adults in the UK are finding it difficult to pay for electricity and gas, with so many others around the world living paycheck to paycheck. Paying every creditor on time, and in full, will without doubt stretch many individuals to breaking point. All creditors will definitely be busy collecting and as such will have to make plans to service these customers with care and empathy. This is not only because it is mandated, but also because it will push for longer-term brand loyalty.

The company founded by Cormac O’Neill, Paul Sweeney and Mark Oppermann is growing at more than 100% YoY and is targeting to double its headcount in the next 6 months assisted by this investment. “I am confident that Webio will maintain its rate of growth and may look to raise additional capital to enter new markets. There are very exciting times ahead for us.  We are certainly in the right market and at the right time. All I can say is watch this space” added Cormac O’Neill. 

Webio will use the new funds to deepen its conversational AI capabilities and additional digital offerings. The AI tech company also plans to triple its R&D team, expand the sales & marketing teams as well as expand its customer success teams to address the growing market demand in the UK and European markets.

“Webio is reimagining the way customer credit conversations take place in the collections industry. This sector is ripe for disruption, its approach to its customers is outdated and it’s an extremely large market which is set for significant growth,” sights Mike Brennan of Finch Capital expressing his support adding, “ Finch Capital is delighted to continue to support this experienced team with its ambitious plans for rapid growth and expansion.”

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