The large seed round is indicative of how strongly the chatbot industry grew last year
Indian-founded, California-based Botworx.Ai has raised $3 million in seed funding from Costanova Ventures for a so-called “conversational commerce platform” that can contact customers through any of the major messaging apps: WeChat, Facebook Messengers, and iMessage. Some of that money will also come from unnamed angel investors in Silicon Valley.
Co-founders Mahi De Silva, Manoj Malhotra, Mark Fruehan, and Arvind Gupta have steered the company toward being a customer success business, selling its services to major brands who want to have better direct conversations with customers. The team has experience together after co-founding AdMarvel (now OperaNetworks), one of the largest mobile advertising firms in the world. They also worked together at VeriSign on mobile messaging.
Unlike other companies in the biz however, Botworx has some political experience to back its tool. New Delhi-based Gupta is also the former CIO of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in India, who created an engagement tool to campaign for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Chatbot technology is a leapfrog opportunity for brands to elevate ephemeral digital marketing campaigns into engaging and long-lived conversations with consumers,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO of Botworx.ai. Their announcement takes pains to play up its natual language processing (NLP) abilities, as have many other chat-focused startups in the last year.
— Arvind Gupta (@buzzindelhi) February 11, 2017
“Despite all of the technological innovation, marketing is still done one campaign at a time, where brands have very limited access to audience profile and engagement data,” de Silva continued. “We’re building Botworx.ai to upend that paradigm gives brands greater power to acquire customers, engage them with content and monetize the engagement.”
The company is building its own bot-creation platform, which they say will lend a helping hand in acquiring new customers in addition to staying in touch with current ones.
“Botworx.ai is building an end-to-end platform that allows businesses to message directly with consumers instantly without having to open a separate app,“ said Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner at Costanoa Ventures. “This will change the way businesses engage with their customers, allowing every interaction to be personalized and one-to-one.”
The chatbot economy is booming as language processing improved and bots begin producing more natural-sounding sentences as they engage with customers. For instance, startup Conversica reports the emails its bots have produced have sounded so authentic that clients have even pitched those bots for jobs.
“The guys who are buying it are people that are working on the problems where consumers have the really high lifetime value,” said Mike Gozzo, co-founder of Smooch, a messaging provider headquartered in Montreal, Canada, at the Geektime Conference in November.
Botworx maintains its headquarters in Los Altos, California with other locations around the world.