Cognigy Secures Funds to Expand Contact Center Automation


Philipp Heltewig, formerly CIO at marketing firm Sitecore prior to its acquisition by the private equity group EQT in 2016, teamed up with Sascha Poggemann and Benjamin Mayr eight years ago to establish Cognigy, a customer service automation startup. Heltewig states the motivation behind this venture was the widespread confusion about AI’s capabilities and limitations among both consumers and C-suite executives.

“Big tech companies have ‘mis-set’ expectations when it comes to AI,” Heltewig told Truth Voices. “In 2015, IBM claimed that its Watson platform could do everything. In 2024, the claim has returned as ‘Copilot can do everything.’ Neither is true.”

With Cognigy, Heltewig, Poggemann, and Mayr aimed to fulfill a modest goal: developing AI that can manage the monotonous, repetitive tasks faced by contact center employees daily.

AI for contact centers isn’t a novel concept. A recent survey reveals that over half of businesses have already incorporated AI into their customer service operations. Market research firm Markets and Markets predicts revenue in the call center AI market to rise from $1.6 billion in 2022 to $4.1 billion by 2027.

In addition to major tech companies, numerous startups offer AI-driven solutions to automate fundamental call center tasks. Examples include Parloa, focusing on text-to-speech applications;, which creates enterprise-oriented conversational AI apps; Lang, whose technology automatically tags and categorizes customer interactions; and PolyAI and Retell AI, both developing autonomous phone agents.

What distinguishes Cognigy? The platform can be deployed locally or in a private or public cloud (e.g., AWS). Additionally, it is scalable, managing AI agents that can handle tens of thousands of customer interactions simultaneously.

Image Credits: Cognigy

“Cognigy provides a platform to build, operate, and analyze AI agents for enhancing customer experiences in the contact center,” Heltewig remarked. “In addition to serving end customers, these AI agents also act as ‘copilots’ for human agents, offering contextual support and automating routine tasks like call wrap-up.”

Cognigy offers three main products: a self-service Q&A chatbot that utilizes an organization’s knowledge base to respond to customer queries, a set of tools for creating chatbot experiences, and an AI-powered support agent dashboard that provides relevant information to agents during customer interactions.

Cognigy develops its own generative AI models to enhance its platform. It also integrates third-party models, such as OpenAI’s GPT-4o, Anthropic’s Claude 3, Google’s Gemini, and Aleph Alpha’s Luminous.

The vendor-neutral, bring-your-own-model approach may have contributed to Cognigy’s significant growth in recent years.

Currently, the company has around 175 clients implementing Cognigy contact center solutions across 1,000 brands, including Toyota and Bosch. Recently, Cognigy secured a substantial Series C funding round led by French private equity group Eurazeo. Alongside Insight Partners, DTCP, and DN Capital, Eurazeo invested $100 million in Cognigy, increasing the total funds raised by the startup to $175 million.

With a workforce of 175 based in Düsseldorf and San Francisco, expected to grow to 250 by year-end, Cognigy plans to use the new capital to expand geographically across the U.S. and invest in product research and development.

“We aim to facilitate the creation of more advanced customer service solutions and accelerate AI-first technologies that provide a return on investment,” Heltewig stated.

Kyle Wiggers
Kyle Wiggers
Kyle Wiggers is a senior reporter with a special interest in AI. His writing has appeared in VentureBeat and Digital Trends, as well as a range of gadget blogs including Android Police, Android Authority, Droid-Life, and XDA-Developers. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, a piano educator, and dabbles in piano himself.

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