Made in Emerging Europe

Estonia’s Klaus makes region’s first major exit of 2024

The Tallinn-based AI-powered quality management platform is set to become part of Danish-American giant Zendesk.

Klaus, an Estonian AI-powered quality management platform that helps companies drive revenue through outstanding customer service, this week announced that it had agreed a deal to be acquired by Danish-American software giant Zendesk.

The sale—likely to be worth a figure in the tens of millions of euros—is expected be completed in the first quarter of 2024 and is the first major exit of the year anywhere in emerging Europe.

Headquartered in Tallinn, Klaus was founded in 2018 by Martin Kõiva, Kair Käsper and Egon Sale and has nearly 100 employees developing software that helps thousands of customer service agents at hundreds of enterprises to improve customer care centre quality and consistency.

The firm’s relationship with Zendesk goes back several years—Klaus is an alumni of Zendesk’s start-up incubator programme.

Klaus is built on the idea that with digital agents resolving more service inquiries without human interaction, having a quality assurance (QA) solution that analyses both human and digital agent performance is crucial to maintaining quality control and providing best-in-class customer service.

While most QA software is capable of only scoring one to two per cent of interactions and cannot recognise systemic trends, Klaus says its AI scores 100 per cent of customer support interactions. It pinpoints conversations with positive or negative sentiment, identifies outliers, churn risk, escalations and follow-ups across all conversations—even those done by digital agents or outsourced teams.

Klaus spots knowledge gaps and coaching opportunities that can be used to improve agent performance and productivity, all of which results in higher customer satisfaction.

AI-led, personalised CX

In October 2022, Klaus raised 12 million euros a Series A funding round led by Acton Capital, bringing the total raised by the start-up to over 20 million US dollars.

“Zendesk and Klaus share a vision of AI-led, personalised CX with businesses fully anticipating and acting on their customers’ needs,” says Kõiva, Klaus CEO.

“QA software plays a critical role in this, ensuring consistency, assessing both human and digital agent performance and providing actionable insights for strategic planning. As part of Zendesk, we will continue to build and deliver these crucial capabilities, but now at an even greater scale.”

Zendesk, which has a market capitalisation of nearly 10 billion US dollars, has highlighted that the acquisition will help to deliver consistent, high quality service across every channel and across both human and digital agents—all while unlocking the power of everyday customer interactions to increase loyalty.

“As AI drives up the speed and frequency of customer engagement, only AI-powered QA can keep up as companies work to identify and fix gaps in their customer service operations,” says Adrian McDermott, CTO at Zendesk.

“The combination of Zendesk AI and Klaus’ capabilities will help businesses navigate greater complexity and volume and ensure both digital and human agents deliver highly personal and empathetic service.”

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