SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Somya Kapoor, CEO at TheLoops

Somya Kapoor, CEO at TheLoops shares a few thoughts on the importance of scaling sales and operations with AI-powered technologies while dipping into the story behind TheLoops, a platform that helps optimize the end-to-end support experience:


Hi Somya, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…and more on the story behind TheLoops! We’d love the key highlights on your latest funding as well!

TheLoops is a platform that provides contextualized data to enable support representatives to make decisions faster. By learning from collaborations across Support, DevOps and Engineering, TheLoops transforms the customer support experience by providing insights from broad sets of data and recommendations embedded in intelligent workflows. These intelligent operations upskill representatives with correlated product insights and actions within tools such as Zendesk, Jira, Slack and Salesforce. Real-time insights drawn from people, process, and tooling interaction also helps support managers to be more effective in monitoring the state of their service operations.

I founded the company with Ravi Bulusu, CTO at TheLoops. I met Ravi at a previous startup. In 2019 we left this company to pursue our new business idea. We saw a big gap in customer support with the support experience being disjointed from product experience.  In March 2020, we started talking to VCs, and then the world literally shut down.

We fundamentally believed in our idea and stuck to it even through the pandemic, speaking to 200+ enterprise customers just to figure out in detail what were the gaps, problems and challenges support teams faced. By the second half of  2020, we had built a prototype and started to fundraise again, successfully closing an oversubscribed round for $8.75 million. We never lost hope as we believe there is a huge need and demand in the marketplace for this type of solution.

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How have you been seeing AI driven applications change how support and operations tasks are now handled across SaaS businesses?

In a traditional support environment, the solution to upskilling agents is to provide them with knowledge articles. This wastes product resource as experts need to document potential issues, and then hand articles over to support, who in reality do not understand them – resulting in more escalations. This is where AI can make a difference. A Salesforce survey of support professionals shows a very strong requirement for product knowledge for today’s support reps, 99% said it was important!  Product knowledge does not have to be a physical object. If I correlate the digital footprint of all my applications with my customer data, I will get far more insight into why failures are occurring and how quickly things can fail. AI is good at identifying data and extracting actionable deliverables. AI can correlate signals because it’s finite states, i.e., every different API can fail in only so many formats due to coding and only execute in one or two different scenarios. Therefore, the permutations of failure are finite. With machine signals, it’s easier to use AI to problem solve and troubleshoot.

Why according to you is AI now crucial to sales teams and operations teams?

All cloud companies have a plethora of data, whether it’s logs or usage, mining that data and figuring out where things could go wrong is a much easier way to resolution. AI is the way forward, it leads to faster resolution, easier collaboration, and the build-up of tribal knowledge within the organization. In the world of SaaS you have to earn revenue each month or whatever the period of the subscription is.  It’s a known fact that one bad customer support experience can quickly lead to the termination of an account and the end of that revenue stream.  As more and more businesses go digital, subscription revenue models will be pressed to provide real time customer support resolutions to guarantee their recurring revenue streams.

In what ways have you seen newer SaaS innovations and applications change the game for customer service teams and what are some thoughts on this impact for the future?

SaaS products are generating a massive amount of customer interaction data.  The tooling around each SaaS product is also generating a massive amount of data.  This tooling includes support tickets yes, but also system alerts, team messages, log files, product analytics and more. Early work in Natural Language Processing has helped support reps to manage and understand more clearly what a customer is stating, but it doesn’t explain or give context to what a customer connected to your SaaS application is actually experiencing.

However, product data on the other hand is different. With product signals, it’s easier to correlate and contextualize the data to your customer experience in order to identify the problem and solve it.

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As B2B data trends evolve, how can marketers and sales teams use AI powered platforms to drive better collaboration and insights between teams?

Contextual awareness is the all-important success factor here. With the customer’s product data you can achieve contextual awareness of what they are experiencing. First line support reps and managers can take the customer experience to the next level. Contextual awareness is how businesses can deliver modern support. Reps transform from being reactive to proactively growth oriented. A customer experience that converts support tickets from support issues to opportunities for growing the lifetime value of your customers.

In the new digital landscape, agents need to be able to take ownership of the end-to-end resolution process and empathize with the customer. This starts by providing them with contextual information from the integrated tool stack to support real-time data sharing within the tools they are used to using.

A few thoughts on what Revenue leaders need to be doing more of today to align team and business goals?

All the data exists within the tools and technologies that companies have invested in – it is just spread across support tiers, engineering, and DevOps and frequently lost during collaboration. Your service agents are the public face of the company, especially in the digital world, and first point of contact for anything going wrong. They have a huge impact on the success of your business. They need to be empowered with real-time insights. Support needs to move from cost center to growth driver, an interaction point where you can increase customer experience drastically, they need to become data-driven from all angles.

At the moment many solutions can’t tell you once a ticket is created what the impact of that ticket is on revenue. Organizations need to ensure customer service and engineering teams are working in sync to drive cost efficiencies and productivity. Support should be driving revenue and be a competitive advantage.

How do you see the role of the CEO in tech evolving and what would the future CEO in the SaaS market look like?

CEOs of SaaS will start to look at CCO [ Chief Customer Officers] to drive real-time metrics from CX where customer support will take a center stage and become more of a competitive advantage. Connecting closely with the customer, anticipating behaviours and predicting issues before they happen with the help of data, insights will give companies competitive advantage. These companies can better understand their interactions with customers and even preempt problems in customer journeys. CCOs with an eye to the future are boosting their data and analytics capabilities and harnessing predictive insights to connect more closely with their customers, anticipate behaviors, and identify CX issues and opportunities in real time.

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TheLoops is the first intelligent support operations platform to bring product context to support, optimizing the support experience. It contextualizes data from a variety of sources and provides insights to reps within the tools they are using. Its collaborative capability keeps learning from resolutions across organizations providing managers with real-time visibility into the state of their support operations. TheLoops transforms support organizations from a cost center to a growth driver.

 Somya Kapoor is CEO and Co-Founder of TheLoops, an intelligent service operations platform for modern SaaS businesses. Her experience spans from building ML and predictive analytics products to product go-to-market; this was at both SAP and ServiceNow. At ServiceNow, she led expanding the ITSM portfolio to include an AI/ML strategy that included release planning and revenue management. At her previous startup, she was responsible for building an autonomous service desk solution which empower users without the use of service tickets.

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