Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, December 8, 2021

AI Conversation Intelligence Platform Chorus.ai Acquired by ZoomInfo for $575M 

Marketing software vendor ZoomInfo is expanding its go-to-market services to enterprises by acquiring Chorus.ai, which uses AI to capture data insights from phone calls, video meetings, sales meetings, emails and more.

The $575 million acquisition, which was announced July 13 (Wednesday), will add another tool to ZoomInfo's broad business intelligence and engagement services to enterprises, according to the company.

Chorus.ai uses machine learning to bring together new data insights from traditionally untapped data workflows inside companies so they can be made available to boost additional sales efforts.

Henry Schuck, ZoomInfo CEO

“The acquisition of Chorus will accelerate our vision to deliver a modern go-to-market platform that brings together best-in-class intelligence with comprehensive data management, workflow, and engagement software, empowering companies to effectively execute their revenue-generating strategies,” Henry Schuck, ZoomInfo’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “With the largest Conversation Intelligence patent portfolio in the industry, Chorus will advance each aspect of our vision by surfacing a new category of insights, illuminating new workflows, and enabling more targeted engagement at scale.”

In a July 13 blog post about the Chorus.ai acquisition, Schuck wrote that the company’s technology will help drive ZoomInfo’s position in the enterprise sales marketplace.

“Combined with ZoomInfo’s intelligence data and go-to-market motions, Chorus will change how go-to-market teams search for target accounts, monitor account activity, trigger automated workflows, and expand buying committees,” wrote Schuck. “In short, it will allow salespeople to enter meetings with complete intelligence about each participant and company. Together, ZoomInfo and Chorus will open doors where no doors existed before.”

Jim Benton, the CEO of Chorus.ai, will join ZoomInfo as the senior vice president for emerging products as part of the acquisition.

ZoomInfo’s products and services, which are used by about 20,000 companies around the world, provide business and sales insights through integrations with CRM, sales, marketing automation, talent management and other applications.

Rob Enderle, analyst

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, told EnterpriseAI that the pairing of the two companies is a sensible move.

“AI can be and often is used to replace human workers, but a better use advocated by IBM and others is to use it to enhance humans and not replace them,” said Enderle. “This enhancement is what Chorus.ai does with their Conversational AI engine used to analyze sales behavior to improve close rates. It does not replace the sales force; it makes the sales force more effective.

“That makes its technology a natural enhancement to the go-to-market focus of ZoomInfo because it will make them more efficient and successful,” he said. “This merger, if successful, should become an example of how AI should be applied to help the human race not displace or destroy it.”

Another analyst, Dan Maycock, principal of engineering and analysis with Loftus Labs, agreed.

“AI is just the latest form of automation,” said Maycock. “On a long journey, where technologists look to ease the difficulty of conducting business anywhere, there is an opening for an improvement. Whether it is automating the routing of phone calls, to moving from horses to automobiles, AI has a broad range of areas that can be applied and leveraged across a variety of industries.”

Dan Maycock, analyst

Initially, AI will be applied everywhere, and it will fail in many cases, he said. “But it will remain sticky in those use cases where it proves to be most valuable. Companies having AI in their name right now is a popular trend because of that and we will probably continue to see many acquisitions given the difficulty of acquiring software engineers fluent in AI-based technologies. I do not anticipate these trends slowing down for the next several years.”

In February, Chorus.ai announced it had achieved record growth in 2020, while bringing in $45 million through a Series C funding round.

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