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Senzai taps into AI optimization to guide LatAm companies to the right customers

Businesses pay a lot of money to have the latest and greatest artificial intelligence tools, but when the purpose of your business isn’t tech-related, it isn’t often getting the full AI effect. Senzai wants to change that for companies in Latin America.

Julian Lopez-Portillo and Darren Timmins co-founded the Mexico City-based company about a year ago after leaving their respective jobs: Lopez-Portillo was at software company Afiniti, where he was head of product, building out performance measurement and predictive modeling products that used AI. Timmons, who also worked at Afiniti for a time, was in data and enterprise architecture at telecommunications companies in the United Kingdom.

Lopez-Portillo, CEO, told TechCrunch that he saw companies of all sizes struggle with how to implement the predictive modeling they were creating. Instead, they were focused on showering offers, discounts and promotions on the few customers where they thought they could influence the outcome.

“I thought there was a huge opportunity to bring some of these learnings of how AI could be implemented into companies in Latin America because they are still focusing on building tools rather than solving problems,” Lopez-Portillo said. “I thought there’s still a niche that hasn’t been covered yet where we could build a tool that would solve this actual problem for enterprises.”

As such, Senzai’s technology focuses on three tools: measuring impact, experimentation and optimization to figure out which customers are likely to respond to certain sales and marketing campaigns so that outcomes improve.

Senzai is in the earliest of stages. It launched within the past month, initially working with telecommunications and banks. Lopez-Portillo said the company will make money through a performance-based fee, charging a percentage of the value generated for customers.

It raised a pre-seed round of $2 million this year to launch with three clients as it prepares for a formal launch at the end of the year. ALLVP led the round.

“AI is really in the spotlight right now with the advent of ChatGPT,” said Jimena Pardo, managing partner at ALLVP, in a written statement. “The new breed of LLMs (large language models) is clearly enormously powerful and are already spawning a new wave of AI tools, but we’ll have to wait to see what value it all brings in the end. This is where Senzai stands out, by focusing on the outcomes, not the tools, they are perfectly placed to leverage all this innovation (instead of competing with it) to deliver actual value.”

Meanwhile, Senzai has been developing its MVP with those first few clients and will deploy the new funding into scaling the product and getting product market fit.

“It's right now a matter of just executing the kind of general ideas that we had back at Afiniti,” Lopez-Portillo said. “We've already spoken to a lot of these clients, so the idea is to get off the ground incredibly fast.”