Conversational commerce is coming. Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker declared it “messaging’s secret sauce” in this year’s Internet Trends report. Ernst & Young’s David Nichols sees it as the next evolution beyond mobile apps. But where and how those conversations surrounding commerce take place is still very much taking shape. One startup, Conversable, which launches today with an enterprise SaaS offering, aims to help usher in this new era for ecommerce across multiple messaging platforms, SMS, and Twitter.
“Conversable’s goal is to be platform agnostic and allow brands to deploy conversational experiences for the messaging platforms that are relevant to the particular brand’s customers,” said Ben Lamm, cofounder and CEO of Conversable.
The Austin, Texas-based company announced its first conversational commerce deployment with Wingstop, a global chain of more than 800 restaurants, for Facebook Messenger and Twitter. “We are launching Wingstop on Twitter and Facebook Messenger but not limited to these platforms,” Lamm said via email.
Without revealing names, Lamm described three additional customers: a national pizza chain, a movie theater company, and an airline that will be announced soon. And furthering the company’s intent to help brands connect with their customers across any channel, the company today also announced support for nearly all the major messaging platforms, from Facebook Messenger to Slack to Kik.
It’s important to note what Conversable is and what it is not. “Conversable seeks to be the core middleware platform that manages the ux flows, glossaries, decision trees, and business logic for these conversations while securely integrating with key legacy enterprise systems,” Lamm said. “Conversable doesn’t make bots, it helps companies better communicate with their customers in the messaging channels where their customers already are.”
Conversable was founded in 2014 and currently has 15 employees. It has raised about $2 million in angel funding and will pursue an enterprise SaaS model, charging customers annual license fees and generating additional revenue from consulting and system integration. Prior to cofounding Conversable, Lamm founded Chaotic Moon Studios, a global creative technology provider, which was acquired by Accenture. Conversable’s other cofounder, Andrew Busey, serves as chairman and chief product officer. Busey previously cofounded and sold Pluck, a social media software company, to Demand Media and Challenge Games to Zynga.
Conversable’s focus is on conversational commerce and the secure integration of messaging with enterprise applications it requires. Just as apps supplanted the web, bots and messaging are poised to replace apps. “The rise of messaging platforms, automation, and bots,” said Lamm, “is going to destroy the need for companies to build standalone mobile apps and ask their customers to then go download that specific app versus just use the channels their customers are already in like Facebook, Twitter, and SMS.”