Waterloo-headquartered customer experience tech startup Proto (formerly Sinitic) has raised an all-equity, all-primary capital $5.6 million CAD in Series A funding. The financing was led by Mucker Capital with participation from current shareholder Yolo Investments.

Founded in 2018 by Curtis Matlock (CEO) and Albert Zhuang (CTO), Proto uses its Hermes AI natural processing engine to offer a multilingual chatbot for contact centres. In addition to its head office in Canada, Proto is also located in Panama City, London (United Kingdom), Kigali, and Taipei.

Since it first launched at National Taiwan University, Proto has expanded its client base to also serve governments and enterprises from industries, such as financial services and healthcare. The startup currently supports local languages such as Hindi, Kinyarwanda, Tagalog and Twi, as well as common mixed-languages like Taglish (Tagalog-English) and Manglish (Malay-English).

By using its polyglot (knows and uses several languages) chatbot, Proto claims that users are able to improve the inclusion and protection of their customers that otherwise face long wait times, unresolved cases, and limited language support.

“Due to poor support for their native languages, billions of people are still cut out from critical digital services,” said Mucker Capital investor Joe Tsai. “Proto’s multilingual … and conversational chatbots can unlock greater inclusivity at a massive scale while generating significant ROI for the institutions that adopt it.”

According to Proto, its chatbot can be used in a variety of applications. In addition to financial and healthcare services, the chatbot can also be leveraged for uses in government, online gaming, energy and utility, as well as telecom. The technology is deployed in over 13 countries, including Cambodia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rwanda, Uganda, and Vietnam. Proto claims that it has served around 2,250 companies.

With a current headcount of more than 30 distributed across the world Proto said its new Series A capital is earmarked for its team expansion.

Additionally, Proto intends to open source its Hermes AI machine learning models via API. This will include capability for automated speech recognition and text-to-speech. It also plans to deploy “regulator chatbots” for more countries to strengthen financial inclusion and consumer protection across industries by working with organizations such as the University of Cambridge’s SupTech Lab, BFA Global, and the African Development Bank.

With this latest round, Proto has raised $10 million to date in equity and grants.

PROTO is a fascinating startup as it helps businesses in regulating and operating across local languages and channels. My best wishes to the entire team for future success.

Shishir Gupta CEO & Founder of startuplanes

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