Top startups shaping the future of chatbots

Steven Loeb · August 29, 2017 · Short URL:

Many startups are creating bots to be our personal assistants

When most people think of chatbots, they likely think of the major platforms and big companies making waves in the space, such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Line, Amazon and Google.

However, there's a world of startups beyond just those big companies, with many up-and-coming platforms doing interesting things with bots, creating personal assistants based on natural language and artificial intelligence. 

Here are some of perhaps less-well-known companies operating in the chatbot space:



  • Description: "Interactions develops and markets award-winning natural language understanding technology used by Fortune 500 companies worldwide."
  • Funding: $162.75 million
  • Investors: Comcast Ventures, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, NewSpring Capital, North Hill Ventures, Revolution, Sigma Partners, SoftBank Capital, Updata Partners



  • Description: "Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for sales, marketing & customer service to one platform, helping businesses avoid the stiff, spammy status quo and have real conversations that build real connections. Designed to feel like the messaging apps you use every day, Intercom lets you talk to consumers almost anywhere: inside your app, on your website, across social media and via email."
  • Funding: $115.75 million
  • Investors: 500 Startups, Andy McLoughlin, Bessemer Venture Partners, David Sacks, DG Incubation, Digital Garage, Freestyle Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Index Ventures, Oyster Technology Investments, Social Capital



  • Description: "The best relationships in our lives were built around playing games. Memories of staying up late playing Warcraft 3 with friends or sharing creations in The Sims mean so much to us. Discord's free voice and text chat is about making it easier for you to spend time with the people you care about, create these memories, and land a headshot or two."
  • Funding: $79.3 million
  • Investors: 9+ Program, Accel Partners, Benchmark, General Catalyst, Greylock Partners, IDG Ventures USA, Index Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Mitch Lasky, Spark Capital, Specialized Types, Tencent Holdings, Time Warner, YouWeb



  • Description: "Today, Kik is the best way to connect with friends, no matter where you meet them. But it’s also become so much more. As the only chat platform built especially for teens and as a clear leader in chatbots, Kik will become the central hub for everyday life for teens across the world as we grow."
  • Funding: $120.5 million
  • Investors: Foundation Capital, RRE Ventures, Spark Capital, SV Angel, Tencent, Union Square Ventures, and Valiant Capital Partners



  • Description: "Digit checks your spending habits and removes a few dollars from your checking account if you can afford it."
  • Funding: $36.6 million
  • Investors: Alexis Ohanian, Baseline Ventures, Cooperative Capital, Financial Solutions Lab, Freestyle Capital, General Catalyst, GV, Ribbit Capital, Upside Partnership

  • Description: " is an artificial intelligence driven personal assistant who schedules meetings for you"
  • Funding: $44.3 million 
  • Investors: IA Ventures, Firstmark, Two Sigma Venture, CrunchFund, DCM Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, SoftBank Capital, Work-Bench



  • Description: "Gupshup has been a pioneer in messaging and bots, long before they became trendy. Gupshup’s messaging platform is used by over 30,000 businesses, leading companies such as FlipKart, OLA, Facebook, Twitter, ICICI, HDFC and ZeeTV. Gupshup’s platform handles over 4 billion messages per month and over 150 billion cumulative. Gupshup also developed a smart-messaging app, Teamchat, which introduced patent-pending “smart” messages in 2014, only now being offered by other messaging apps. Gupshup’s bot platform provides tools for the entire bot lifecycle enabling developers to quickly and easily build, test, deploy, monitor and track bots."
  • Funding: $44.13 million
  • Investors: Cambrian Ventures, CRV, Globespan Capital Partners, Helion Venture Partners, HTSG, Lloyd George Management, Tenaya Capital




  • Description: "Ozlo is an intelligent assistant for iOS and the web."
  • Funding: $14 million before it was acquired by Facebook in July 2017
  • Investors: AME Cloud Ventures, Amino Capital, Greylock Partners, Jerry Yang



  • Description: "Niki is an AI powered bot that simplifies Ordering experience, works through a simple chat interface."
  • Funding: $2.44 million 
  • Investors: Arihant Patni, Haresh Chawla, Ratan Tata, SAP.iO Foundries Berlin, Unilazer Ventures



  • Description: "The first virtual assistant that take everybody’s priorities into account"
  • Funding: $1.45 million before it was acquired by Microsoft in August 2016
  • Investors: AGO Partners, Katrina Garnett, Streamlined Ventures, UJ Ventures


Wade & Wendy

  • Description: "Wade & Wendy offers machine intelligence personalities that aim to make hiring more human"
  • Funding: $1.5 million
  • Investors: Camp One Ventures, Converge Venture Partners, Evolution Venture Partners, ff Venture Capital, Indicator Ventures, Mesa Ventures, Randstad Innovation Fund, Rothenberg Ventures, Slack, Three Fish Capital



  • Description: "Troops is a slackbot for sales team. Troops allows users to configures salesforce reports, communicate deal wins, and pull salesforce data for all standard and custom objects through Slack."
  • Funding: $9.6 million
  • Investors: Andrew Levy, Andy Monfried, Aspect Ventures, Chicago Ventures, Felicis Ventures, First Round Capital, Flight Ventures, Founder Collective, Great Oaks Venture Capital, NextView Ventures, Slack, Susa Ventures, Vast Ventures




  • Description: "Enables companies to engage and transact with their customers via intelligent conversations powered by smart bots and virtual assistants."
  • Funding: $11.45 million
  • Investors: BBVA Ventures, Commerce Ventures, DBS Bank, Harvard Business School, MasterCard, New York Angels, Partnership Fund for New York City, Propel Venture Partners, SRI International, Two Sigma Ventures, Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator


 Viv LogoViv

  • Description: "Viv is an artificial intelligence platform that enables developers to distribute their products through an intelligent, conversational interface. It’s the simplest way for the world to interact with devices, services and things everywhere. Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day."
  • Funding: $30 million before it was acquired by Samsung in October 2016
  • Investors: Bart Swanson, Horizons Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital



  • Description: "Operator is an online shop powered by a community of experts that offers a range of products from fashionable items and RTWs to home decors."
  • Funding: $25 million
  • Investors: Designer Fund, Expa, Formation 8, GGV Capital, Greylock Partners, Horizons Ventures, Morningside Venture Capital



  • Description: "Mezi is an AI-powered personal travel assistant, accessible 24x7, over messaging."
  • Funding: $11.8 million
  • Investors: American Express Ventures, American Express Ventures, Gokul Rajaram, Nexus Venture Partners, Saama Capital



  • Description: "Leverage the power of pragmatic AI to execute core business processes, automate customer inquiries and increase efficiency across the organization."
  • Funding: $22.46 million
  • Investors: Plug and Play Insurance Accelerator, SouthWinston, The Chatterjee Group


Smooch Technologies

  • Description: "Smooch is the best way to have personal, rich conversational commerce experiences with your customers in your app or website."
  • Funding: $7.6 million
  • Investors: iNovia Capital, Real Ventures, TA Associates

  • Description: ", formerly GoButler, is a technology company that supports businesses in automating conversational commerce using NLP."
  • Funding: $8 million before it was acquired by Amazon in September 2016
  • Investors: Ashton Kutcher, BoxGroup, Cherry Ventures, General Catalyst, Global Founders Capital, Lakestar, Slow Ventures, Sound Ventures


Machine Zone

  • Description: "Live data powers everything we do—from our global, multiplayer mobile games to our mobile ad buying to our live data ecosystem, Satori. MZ is creating new futures for people, enterprises, cities, and countries. The possibilities are endless."
  • Funding: $263.3 million
  • Investors: Anthos Capital, Baseline Ventures, Hercules Capital, JPMorgan Investment, Menlo Ventures, Y Combinator

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