Mark Suster

Mark Suster Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Santa Monica-based Upfront Ventures led a $56 million funding round for Santa Barbara-based Invoca Inc., a call center analytics firm, on Oct. 17.

Founded in 2009, Invoca has now raised $116 million to date for its artificial intelligence-powered call tracking and conversation analysis platform and will use the new funds to expand its business and sign new partners in the digital advertising and marketing technology space.

"Invoca made a huge leap by applying AI to sales calls. Marketers now discover the 'purchase intent' of consumers similar to how valuable it is knowing the terms a lead has typed into a Google search," Upfront Ventures Managing Partner Mark Suster said in a statement.

"With computers in every customer's pocket, calls have become an insanely important marketing channel for every brand," Suster added.

According to funding tracker PitchBook Data Inc., Upfront has backed Invoca since Invoca's March 2009 Series A round, which totaled $3.5 million.

"Over 90% of commerce still happens offline via contact centers and retail stores, especially in industries with more complex, expensive products," Invoca Chief Executive Gregg Johnson said in a statement. "Brands are struggling to connect digital advertising investments to the human conversations that drive sales, and Invoca addresses this gap."

HIG Growth Partners, Accel and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners all bought into the round alongside Upfront.

Invoca's clientele includes Dish Networks, Google, Facebook Inc., and Adobe Inc., among others.

Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.

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