Serving customers with AI

FinChatBot is a conversational AI solutions company founded in South Africa in 2016. This week we caught up with their co-founder, Antoine Pailluseau to learn more.

What challenge does FinChatBot solve?

Customers are looking for new experiences and this involves accessing and receiving information instantly on their favourite messaging platforms/apps.

FinChatBot serves as a support system by bringing people closer to financial services, while enabling providers to enhance customer experience and maximise business performance by saving time and money.

What were you doing before founding the company?

I come from a business background with experience in sales. I then started my first business in 2014 on the lead generation side.

I was selling leads to the financial services industry and realised how complex it was to get the transparency needed in order to monitor sales and feedback from the customer experience.

With this insight and further market analysis, we developed and launched FinChatBot. 

How did you get the company off the ground?

We were part of an incubator called Far Ventures based in Cape Town that assisted us with building the minimum viable product (MVP) to get traction with our first clients.

We then went on to raise an angel round of funding that really helped us as a team to build the right product. 

How much money have you raised so far?

€2.5M in 3 seed funding investment rounds.

🇿🇦 South African startup metrics from 20201

Total funding raised: $142 million (95% increase from 2019)

Number of startups that raised: 81

Average amount of funding raised per startup: $1.75 million

What went into building the early stage product?

The core focus around customer experience and the capability to seamlessly integrate into our prospects’ legacy systems.

This helped us structure the first conversation and introduction to users and to see how the audience and clients would respond. By developing an MVP, we were able to test and iterate our solution to achieve product-market fit. 

What’s your tech stack?

Java, Node.js, React, Native, Python.

Where do you currently operate?

We started FinChatBot in South Africa but have since expanded the business to Portugal, France and the UK. We are also looking to expand further into Europe as well as into West Africa. 

What’s your business model and how have you grown your user base?

Our business model is based on both SAAS and a performance fee. We are not just a software provider to our clients but a fully integrated partner.

We fully manage the solution and work closely with clients to optimise performance over the long-term. 

What metric do you use to measure success and why?

We use several metrics to measure success to ensure the solution is performing well and if not, we optimise. On the client side, we measure traffic, engagement and conversions on the solution.

We also work closely with clients to measure their ROI and to gather feedback for our NPS (Net Promoter Score). We need to ensure our clients are meeting their targets and are satisfied with us as partners.

On the business side, we measure business performance indicators to ensure the overall health of the business. Most importantly, we measure team satisfaction as without our team, there really isn’t a solution to offer. 

What’s the most useful tool you use in your business?

Laptops, we do everything on it :)

What do you love most and least about running the business?

What I love the most about the company is the team and what I love least is not seeing the team enough since we are now working remotely. However, virtual meetings have been super in helping us stay connected. 

What company do you look to for inspiration?

Tesla. It’s futuristic, innovative and a forward thinking brand. It focuses on the customer experience and it is known for being impactful. 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far?

The most important thing I’ve learned is to focus. 

What are your views on the African tech ecosystem?

It’s growing, it’s exciting and it's the youth of the globe.

In The News 🚀

🎸 Spotify is launching in 41 new African markets. It’s currently only in South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt.

🇿🇦 South African Agritech startup Skudu has raised funding from AgVentures, one of Africa’s leading tech investors within agriculture.

🇰🇪 The Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) has established a National Innovation Technical Committee that will help forge a comprehensive and inclusive framework for growing startups at national scale.

🇸🇦 A Gulf venture capital firm, Gulf Fund, created a year ago has raised $75 million to deploy in startups across the Middle East and North Africa.

🇳🇬 Union Bank based in Nigeria has unveiled the 2021 UnionX Innovation Challenge. It aims to discover, showcase, and support entrepreneurs with innovative, technology-focused MVPs.

Are you a founder or investor? Want to feature in our interview series? Apply here.


Source: Disrupt Africa - African Tech Startups Funding Report 2020