LogMeIn acquires chatbot and AI startup Nanorep for up to $50M

LogMeIn, the company that provides authentication and other connectivity solutions for those who connect remotely to networks and services, has made another acquisition to expand the products it offers to customers, specifically in its new Bold360 CRM platform, launched in June. The company has picked up Nanorep, a startup out of Israel that develops chatbots and other AI-based tools to help people navigate self-service apps.

LogMeIn is paying $45 million plus up to $5 million more in earn-outs based on performance and employees staying put over the next two years.

Nanorep had raised just under $7 million from investors that included Titanium out of Russia (which had also backed Cloudyn, recently acquired by Microsoft), Oryzn Capital and OurCrowd.

The startup already had around 500 large customers, including big names like FedEx, Toys“R”Us and Vodafone. In essence, its platform helps anticipate what customers are trying to do when they’re on a website — say in a technical support or search situation — and reduces the number of steps needed to get there. It looks like all of Nanorep’s existing business will continue as its tech also gets integrated into Bold360.

LogMeIn’s launch of Bold360 earlier this year was intended to help the company expand the range of services that it offered to customers, beyond authentication and IT management within an organisation, and into more cloud-based services where the business interfaces with its customers.

However, the CRM space is already very crowded, and so it’s no surprise to see that LogMeIn has made an acquisition to add more features to the service to help set it apart from the pack.

With Nanorep, it’s also tapping into the recent enthusiasm and interest in AI and building “intelligent” services that mimic human behaviours, specifically in CRM.

“Artificial intelligence is changing the way we interact with our favorite brands and will play a critical role in the future of customer engagement,” said Bill Wagner, CEO, LogMeIn, in a statement. “With Nanorep, we gain proven technology and AI expertise that expands our Bold360 offering, accelerates our customer engagement vision and provides a natural path for us to leverage these emerging technologies across our entire portfolio. We believe in the ability of technology to unlock the potential of the modern workforce and with the addition of Nanorep we are going to be able to deliver solutions that will help our customers achieve the next generation of humanized and personalized customer service.”

Although LogMeIn has acquired Nanobot to help raise its game in CRM, on another level this is also an important move just to keep up.

Gartner predicts that “conversational agents” — which you can interpret as a more fancy way of saying “chatbots” — will account for 30 percent of all customer service interactions by 2022, up from just three percent today.

There are many others that are also active in this same area, including Salesforce with its Einstein AI, Gong, which provides real-time processing and teaching to live agents; and Hubspot, which just made an acquisition of its own, of Kemvi.

What Nanorep is tapping into that is interesting is the fact that the vast range of businesses in the world are not tech-centric, and so they will be less capable of building AI solutions like chatbots themselves, nor will they want to spend an arm and a leg to get them: like all software, AI is gradually moving into the realm of being off-the-shelf, and LogMeIn is hoping to be a part of that trend.

This is publicly traded LogMeIn’s seventh acquisition, and its first since acquiring password manager LastPass in 2015 for $110 million.