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Spoke bets on AI to automate company help desks

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There’s a new company on the block that’s aiming to help AI take some of the busy work out of jobs that rely on handling requests like IT and HR. The startup, called Spoke, uses machine learning to help businesses automate requests for information.

It’s designed to save humans’ time by dealing with the questions that would require a boilerplate response, like requests for information on how to log into a payroll system. Getting directions to a website and details on how to reset a password isn’t the sort of thing that should require a human response, and Spoke’s goal is to reduce the instances of people needing to chime in.

Here’s how it works: An admin sets up Spoke and feeds it information from the company’s knowledge base, then route requests through Spoke’s ticketing system, which works like Jira Service Desk or ServiceNow. As humans respond to those tickets, Spoke’s AI will try to pick up on the right responses, and then start pitching in itself when it has enough confidence about the right answer.

In the event someone asks a question that the AI doesn’t know the answer to, it’ll direct that query to a human. If the AI response is unhelpful, questioners can similarly redirect their queries to a human being, which Spoke will learn from and use to inform future answers.

It’s designed to be most useful for companies above 100 people, but with fewer than 1,000 employees.

The other benefit to Spoke is that its software can sit at the center of company workflows and learn how a business works. In the future, it should be possible to take that information and use it to help further automate business processes by tying together disparate systems.

Spoke has raised $28 million to date in two rounds of funding that have been undisclosed thus far. The first was an $8 million round led by Accel Partners, with participation from firms including Felicis Ventures, Webb Investment Network, Spider Capital, and Red Dog Capital, and the second one was a $20 million round led by Greylock Partners that included Accel, Felicis Ventures, and Webb Investment Network.

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