Virtual sales and support tech firm VirtuOz has raised $11.4 million in a second round of funding. Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) led the round; previous backers Galileo Partners and Inventures Group’s Eric Hahn, bringing the company’s total raise to $13.4 million (via VentureBeat). The SF-based company will use the funding for product development and to scale out.
Consumers interact with VirtuOz’s customer service avatars via chat and IMs; the company says the avatars can also learn linguistic nuances and make appropriate sales or support recommendations. VirtuOz gained a foothold with the French offshoots of companies like *eBay* and *AOL* (eBay.fr and AOL-Neuf, respectively), as the company was founded in Paris in 2002. It relocated to the U.S. last September.
A number of companies offer variations on the avatar-based customer service theme: U.K.-based KMP Interactive Marketing & Technology, for example, powers “Ask Anna,” Ikea.com’s virtual assistant, and the long-standing Oddcast, parent company of the SitePal avatars. Release.