Yellow Messenger: Artificial Intelligence-based app to discover, shop for products

Yellow Messenger is a Bangalore-based startup that replaces teams of customer service reps with an AI system to handle your queries and shopping needs.

Chat apps are very popular and arguably, most people would prefer engaging in a chat conversation rather than make a phone call. Going by recent buzz, it's apparent that tech giants are planning to bring chat conversations to advertisers and marketers. But there are many startups out there already using chat conversations to simplify user queries.

Yellow Messenger is one such Bangalore-based startup. Instead of a team of people answering your queries however, it has put in place an Artificial Intelligence-powered interface that converses with users and responds to their queries related to shopping, real estate, recharge, etc. However, it doesn't just stop there, it comes integrated with the inventory and ordering systems of various brands and you can expect to see options from popular e-commerce sites.

It already promises about 8,000 transactions per month worth Rs 11 lakh each month, and also around 800 B2B customers. Founded by Kishore Reddy, Raghu Ravinutala, Rashid Khan and Anik Das, the Yellow Messenger app was launched in 2015.  Reddy has worked with Myntra in the past and has built their payment platform. Ravinutala on the other hand, is a ex-Texas Instruments, Broadcom and Magma Design veteran. Both are serial entrepreneurs and have been involved in grocery delivery and healthcare startups, respectively. Khan has been associated with building IoT systems and Das is from NIT Warangal.

Ravinutala tells us that the business idea was triggered by the search for a unified interface that helps discover, enquire about and shop for products and services. "I ordered Tennis shoes from a popular fashion commerce website and a few days and later figured out that a neighboring store has the latest product at almost the same price," he added.

The Yellow Messenger app was released back in 2014, but the switch to artificial intelligence took place in November 2015. However, some categories are still managed by a team of people. Ravinutala explains that the switch was due to three main factors, which are:
a. Quick responses compared to humans, as users aren't always willing to wait for a response if it takes too much time. AI ensures a rich interface with 2-3 options at a time.
b. Since there aren't any humans to maintain, customer support costs are reduced.
c. Performance is consistent and reliable.

Yellow Messenger is already available as an Android app, and the company is planning to roll out an iOS app in about six months. The startup is aiming at 500,000 overall users in 12 months and about one lakh transactions per month. It has been part of Start-up Chile Accelerator and received equity free seed funding. They have been selected by Microsoft Accelerator for a six-week startup program as well.

Yellow messenger recently raised $100k from friends and family. It makes money via commissions on transactions and subscriptions from businesses.

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