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Retail-focused AI startup Touchcast is raising new funding

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Touchcast, which uses generative AI to build interactive commerce websites, is raising a Series B round, CEO Edo Segal tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: This will be the year the generative AI industry gets serious about delivering results.

Details: Segal declined to say how much Touchcast will raise but noted the round will target strategic investors.

  • Proceeds will be invested in marketing as well as building out software and global infrastructure, Segal says.

How it works: Touchcast's platform, which is a generative AI content management system, or GCMS, was only recently made available to potential customers.

  • It is a reasoning engine that helps retailers and brands transform their websites from digital versions of catalogs into an interactive experience, Segal says.
  • For example, an electronics retailer could create and train a virtual salesperson to learn its product catalog using Touchcast's platform to sell computers.
  • The virtual salesperson would be able to answer customers' questions and offer product recommendations based on their specific needs.
  • The goal is to "reboot the idea of web commerce," not merely add another feature, Segal says.

Zoom in: Touchcast developed its platform in response to the labor pressures facing retailers, Segal says, adding that "human capital" can be a "revolving door" for retail businesses.

  • The technology is less expensive than what it would cost to hire a person, Segal says.
  • In some cases there is simply not the talent available to fill certain roles, he says.

The intrigue: The startup is using its technology to create a digital version of the CEO, which will receive pitches and answer questions from potential investors, Segal says.

  • "We try to eat our own dog food," Segal says.
  • There will still be a traditional pitch deck, however, he adds.

Catch up fast: Touchcast raised a Series A round in 2021 of about $60 million led by Accenture Ventures, Segal says.

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