SA fintech startup FinChatBot expanding to France, Kenya

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South African fintech startup FinChatBot, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot for the financial industry, is in the process of expanding to France and Kenya.

Founded last year after a three-month market study conducted by the team of Cape Town-based startup incubator Far Ventures, FinChatBot has developed a bot that – enriched with machine learning – enables financial services providers to increase their onsite conversion rate, reduce operational costs, and gathering more information on potential customers.

A chatbot is a conversational agent powered by rules and AI that interacts and communicates with customers on behalf of a business entity.

Co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Antoine Paillusseau told Disrupt Africa that though the startup’s initial focus was on South Africa, it had just hired a French representative in Paris and was expanding into Kenya in the coming weeks.

“One of the major Kenyan bank is very interested by our solution. We are busy finalising the contract as we speak,” he said.

“Kenya was not our target market at this stage but our solution raised interest there. Our tech team will remain in South Africa but we are considering opening a sales office in Nairobi to support the business.”

Paillusseau said expanding into Europe was not an easy task, but the FinChatBot team had strong connections in France and the United Kingdom so has easy access to both markets. The startup is also in the process of signing a portfolio of five majors players in the insurance, banking and telecom sectors.

FinChatBot is taking a multi-platform approach, deploying chatbots on both a client website and on messaging platforms such as Messenger and WeChat.

“Thus we help our clients be more personal, more proactive and more streamlined in the way they interact with their customers. With four billion people using messaging apps monthly, we are convinced it is the good direction to go to,” said Paillusseau.

“There are chatbot providers out there, but our approach is totally unique. Our vision is to have a strong impact on our client’s business by offering a performance economic model. This win-win collaboration ensures our clients the results and drives our team to design the best chats. We don’t position ourselves as a pure software company, but more as a performance software provider.”

Bootstrapped originally before raising a first seed funding round in November, FinChatBot has three revenue streams: a setup fee, a management fee, and a conversion fee. It is already making revenues, and its first bot will be live in the next two weeks.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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