South African startup FinChatBot, which develops conversational artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the financial services industry, recently raised a US$1.6 million funding round to help it expand into Europe and West Africa.
An AI-powered solution for financial service providers looking to modernize
More and more institutional corporations seek smart solutions that minimise human touch points, in order to not only lessen the burden of its workforce, but make the customer journey seamless and satisfactory. Since 2016, FinChatBot has developed solutions that have become key conversation and customer service channels for some of the most established and well-known financial service providers in South Africa. The startup now services more than 20 top-tier clients, including MTN Financial Services, Sanlam, Santam, Hollard, MiWay and Bidvest Insurance - helping these industry giants to sell and service financial products with little to no human intervention.
Answering to the question why corporations need conversational AI tools, FinChatBot CEO, Antoine Paillusseau, responds, “By implementing our solutions, financial service providers are able to double their conversion rates, reduce operational costs by more than 60%, retain customers better, and gather more data about customers which can be used for product innovation and customer retention.”
Further funding for expansion
FinChatBot recently announced closing additional funding of US$1.6 million from three venture capital companies for its expansion into new markets.
The investment round comes from French investment holding company Saviu Ventures, the Mauritius-based Compass Venture Capital, and South African venture capital firm Kalon Venture Partners. For both Compass Venture Capital and Kalon Venture Partners, this round solidifies their investment into FinChatBot, having jointly invested $563k in the startup in 2018. Clive Butkow, Kalon CEO, says: “We identified FinChatBot as a leader in this new industry two years ago. We continue to be impressed by FinChatBot’s focus on the financial services industry and its consistent growth which is helping to disrupt a traditionally frustrating customer experience.”
Benoit Delestre, Founder and Managing Partner, Saviu Ventures, commented: “FinChatBot
met our investment criteria as – an African B2B business with talented entrepreneurial
leadership looking to expand regionally or globally which keeps a good balance between
growth and cash burn.” Bastien Maucet, Partner at Compass Capital, also attributes the attraction of the FinChatBot deal to the strength of the leadership team of FinChatBot.
The capital will primarily be used to grow the FinChatBot team to over 50 people with skills in engineering, sales, customer success, project management, business analysis and artificial intelligence (AI). Furthermore, the startup seeks to take its offering to new markets as it expands into West Africa and Europe. In the next nine months, FinChatBot will be opening up offices in France, the United Kingdom (UK) and Portugal. They have appointed Country Directors and look to hire 10+ people in each of these locations.
Understanding that each market is unique and requires a different approach, FinChatBot will be tailoring their pitch “per country and per client” to ensure they demonstrate a thorough understanding of potential clients and the market. Another test for this thriving startup will be their ability to scale across markets while not losing its agility. Head of Marketing, Krystle Hastings, comments, “Our strong cultural values, ways of working and operational processes and tools have been created to enable agility, even as we grow. We hire for cultural fit and aim to find the best talent out there. This is really the key in helping us achieve our success.”