It seems like every website has a chatbot of some kind to help answer simple questions without having to wait for a customer service representative. However, sometimes in the course of connecting it may take awhile, and as your attention shifts to something else, your time expires and you have to start all over again.
AtomChat is developing conversational artificial intelligence software focused on improving sales team performance by converting more via asynchronous messaging in WhatsApp. To accelerate its product development and international expansion plans, it secured $3.15 million in seed funding led by Mucker Capital, with participation from Techstars.
Erick Holmann and Rene Mouynes started the Panama City, Panama-based company in 2019 after working together for more than 15 years automating credit initiation processes for Citi and sales processes for telecommunications companies in Latin America.
AtomChat is their third startup, and their previous outbound sales company was the inspiration, Holmann told TechCrunch. Today, a majority of people in Latin America skip shopping on the web and instead use a combination of apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, where 3.5 billion monthly users send 20 billion messages each month, he added.
“We saw conversational commerce with messaging was going to be to sales what browsers were to the internet in the 1990s,” he added. “If you have a question about a car, you engage with the dealer via messaging. Automation is what everyone wants, but needs to be more focused on customer services and the big gap is on the human side. Customers want more one-on-one time and assisted buying.”
The company enables its customers to connect ongoing conversations that take place over days, weeks or months so that any customer service representative has the history versus having to start over each time. Some of its customers were able to triple sales in a span of two months after implementing AtomChat, Holmann said.
Andres Barreto, managing director of Techstars Boulder, met the company when they were part of the accelerator program last year and decided to back them.
While tools available were created by companies from the United States thinking in terms of U.S. consumers, Latin America, instead, is one of those regions where e-commerce skipped the web and went right to messaging apps, he said.
“Erick and Rene understand the world outside the U.S. is changing and it is leapfrogging technologies that just don’t work in Latin America,” Barreto added. “There is now a vast majority of spending through messaging and super apps catching on which is a huge opportunity for them.”
The infusion of new capital will be deployed into technology development as the company continues to grow 15% in revenue month over month.
Over the past two years, AtomChat has racked up an enterprise customer list across 14 countries that includes Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, GNC and Avis. For example, it saw over 15 million customers engage with messaging and 140 million messages sent through the platform.
“We are just getting started,” Holmann. “We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel for sales teams, but enable them to handle conversations in an efficient manner.”