Chatbots are becoming more universally prevalent than ever. Even if the technology is still far from perfect, it is still completely functional because it brings essential task efficiency benefits that ease or shorten business-related human interactions. In fact, when it comes to asking simple, more direct queries, users either don’t mind consulting bots at all or actually prefer its “interactive search engine” value.
Hence, it is not surprising at all that more and more startups are focusing on chatbots or services related to their technologies. In the past half-decade alone, many promising chatbot startups have sprung up to accept the challenge of chatbot development and evolution.
We have listed some of the notable chatbot startups from the last few years (2015-2021) that you might want to check out.
Eternime: “Memories As a Service”
As far as chatbot startup concepts go, Eternime is probably one of the most unusual chatbot companies that have graced us in the past few years. No, they did not choose the business optimization route, nor did they tread the more promising social media influencing path. Instead, the company is offering to preserve your memories and allow them to live forever as a chatbot.
Does that sound like something right at the centre of the uncanny valley? The goal is essentially to create a “network of artificially-intelligent avatars”, which will convey all data and information about a particular person in a manner resembling that person.
Now, as to what technologies will be used, it is, of course, undisclosed. However, being that it is a chatbot startup offering a service, we could presume that the “avatars” would most likely attempt to communicate in the said person’s style.
So how are they doing nowadays? No official announcements since 2018, but in the era where even Facebook has its policy for deceased users, Eternime’s pitch concept might simply take shape in another form in the coming decades.
Pypestream: “The Power of Streamlined Suggestions”
Rising from the competition within the last five years, Pypestream advertises itself as one of the most influential enterprise-level conversational AI in the United States. Indeed, with a straightforward messaging platform, its use is easy, systematic, step-by-step, and most importantly, intuitive.
In fact, this particular chatbot startup offers a platform practically well-built to handle suggestions quite well. Compared to lesser-optimized chatbots, at least its AI-powered platform can do away with static lists to present a more dynamic information set, depending on how the conversation goes with the user.
Information can also be easily segregated via categorization, as well as by just dragging and dropping information. This further improves its ease of use and convenience to both clients (using the platform) and business entities (deploying the platform).
Oh, and security is also well protected, it seems. In a lot of conversations with its bots, most kinds of sensitive information (that can be stolen with screenshots) are never “chatted” directly. Those responses are non-existent, and the information is usually handled and processed automatically (contextually).
Niki.ai: “When You Want, How You Want”
India-based personal assistant tool Niki.ai (formerly Zabbed) represents the next competitive level of task optimization chatbots today. While various chatbot providers cater to different categories, Niki.ai acts as a universal hub to anything that you want to process online. Think of Foodpanda, but instead “delivering” all kinds of online processing services.
If you want to do banking transactions, for example, Niki.ai’s platform will guide you using the natural language (Indian). It also works when booking taxis, ordering food or availing of other related services.
The key is adapting to conversational trends. Much like other international players like Mobile Monkey, this chatbot startup AI learns how regular human conversations are “optimized” (using net lingo, abbreviations, even emojis). It then adapts to provide technically useful responses.
Initially introduced as an Android app, Niki.ai has since expanded to most mainstream communication platforms. In fact, the company is planning to expand into multimedia and organization platforms such as Slack to provide universal functionality for its services.
X.ai: “Robot Secretary, Alpha Version”
Technically founded in 2014, though activities officially started almost before the year ended, so still counts within our appointed chatbot startup timeline, X.ai offers what seems to be a virtual and artificial assistant, something that we often see implemented in a limited form (as tutorials or info hubs), but never as a fully-functional AI-powered chatbot
Affectionately named Amy, this platform provides a more subtle approach to assistant AI while being a scheduling tool. Though it may be a bit too subtle, it cannot really actively converse in the same adapting patterns as your average chatbot. Nonetheless, its scheduler and multi-messaging features are integrated directly into its “reminder” engine, which provides the interactions in the first place.
Due to certain optimization updates, X.ai’s Amy has unfortunately stepped farther and farther from being a dedicated chatbot. But the essence of such design, at the very least, remains to this day.
Demisto: “Interactive Digital Security”
When the establishment of Demisto was first announced, it poised itself solidly as the world’s very first enterprise security-oriented chatbot startup. The basic design is to make it the go-to solution when handling incidents, whether it is being reported, acted upon, or actively investigated (security orchestration, automation, response, or SOAR). Then, access to information is provided via natural language using the Dbot platform.
In other words, Dbot responds to users within a supported communication media, opening a secondary mode of access to the primary Demisto interface. For example, a casual request of an IP address investigation (using human words) will result in the platform showing relevant information, such as country of origin, a number of potential malware, detected security risk URLs, and so on, in a straightforward manner.
While the main objective is organization and streamlining, Demisto and Dbot also enable users to reach out more easily to other individuals or organizations working on the same incident. In fact, the potential for this functionality was so big that dedicated cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks announced the company’s acquisition in February 2019, for 560 million USD.
Wade & Wendy: “AI Recruiter on Demand”
Yup, that short title is indeed the official, primary slogan of Wade & Wendy. The platform is essentially offering human resource management boosting tool. It automates most of the initial processes required for applicant screening while still providing convincingly informative interactions with the applicants themselves.
The company proudly advertises its chatbot platform as something capable of “allowing candidates to share their stories and go beyond resumes”, suggesting a utilization level that might not feel that different from a late-stage job interview.
Performance-wise, not only does this provide a recruitment platform that operates 24/7, but this primary method of automated recruitment also allows the main operator agency of the HR team to focus their job elsewhere. This chatbot startup platform also operates on an integrated database, so it also functions as a direct analytical assistant to the HR team.
As a bonus, the platform is even able to consistently check and confirm the status of each applicant’s recruitment process.
Mezi: “Travel Convenience Evolved”
If handling general transactions through chatbots is a thing, we could possibly reach a point where travel booking services could be handled by chatbots. The culmination of that idea is Mezi, combining all processes involved in travelling operations in the form of a convenient and intuitive conversational AI.
The implementation is simple. You talk to Mezi in a method not too different from Siri or Google Now. It then interacts by generating suggestions, to be followed up by requests to any related institution for booking as necessary. While the platform’s tasks include organizing travel data and filling out booking information, the transactions themselves are handled by human assistants, who finalize any process confirmed by the user.
The platform initially started with the concept of a shopping chatbot. The idea subsequently evolved over time to pursue a more unique approach to the growing technological applications of chatbots in all industries.
While Mezi as a brand itself is no longer in operation, it lives on within the current travel processing and transactions systems of American Express, which acquired the company two years ago (after using the previously Mezi-powered AskAmex platform).
More Diversified Concepts Ahead
As we welcome the new decade, ideas developed and improved within chatbot platforms will continue to grow. Established chatbot ideas could prove to be even more useful, while less efficient ones might shift priorities to better adapt to the market’s human interaction processing needs.
So, have we exhausted all ideas for new chatbot startups of the future? All ideas that our current level of technology provides, maybe. At this point, most businesses and industries have realized the potential of chatbots. Thus, the scramble to either integrate or provide its features has been the primary motivator for chatbot startups developing new applications for chatbot use within the last few years.
But with the upcoming proliferation of newer information and data transmission technologies in the future, such as orbital-fleet-based internet and 6G networks, we dare to declare that we haven’t even started yet.
2020s should be yet another exciting decade for the establishment of new chatbot startups that will shake up the industry once again.