Coinbase Acquires Indian AI Startup To Improve Customer Service

Co-founded by Coinbase’s head of operations in India, Agara helps Coinbase with customer service using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, is working to improve its customer support while expanding in India by having acquired a new startup.

Coinbase officially announced Tuesday the acquisition of Agara, an artificial intelligence-enabled support platform with operations in India and the United States.

The acquisition aims to expand and automate Coinbase’s customer service capabilities by providing new machine learning and natural language processing tools to Coinbase’s engineering team. The deal also reconfirms the company’s strategy to expand its tech hub in India.

The acquisition of Agara will cost Coinbase between $40 million and $50 million, technology-focused publication TechCrunch reported Monday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The two firms reportedly expect to close the deal later this year.

Founded in 2017, Agara works on machine learning and natural language processing to improve user experience. Employing around 40 people, Agara has reportedly managed to amass some large customers, including cloud-based software company Salesforce and major e-commerce company Shopify.

According to Pankaj Gupta, head of operations at Coinbase in India, Agara’s tech team will join Coinbase as part of the acquisition. Gupta, a co-founder of Agara himself, expects the purchase to be a win-win for Agara and Coinbase. “It’s amazing to see my worlds collide here with Agara, a startup I co-founded in early 2017 but later left to join Google,” he noted.

Agara co-founder and CEO Abhimanyu noted that the company has been able to integrate its tech stack into phone calls-based communication with customers as well. “Some of the more complicated things we do are around phone calls. We have been working to automate much of, if not all, of the support that happens through phone calls,” he said.

Coinbase’s latest effort to improve its customer experience comes as the company has struggled to provide proper customer service. In mid-October, Coinbase users reportedly slammed Coinbase’s new phone support line, with users claiming that it was a “joke.” The exchange previously was under fire for bad customer service in August, as users reportedly complained about hacked accounts and lost assets.