Amazon has hired the founder and chief executive of Angel.ai, a chat commerce startup.
On Tuesday, Navid Hadzaad’s LinkedIn profile said his title was “head of new bot products” at Amazon, leading “consumer engagement initiatives.” His title has since been changed to “product leader.”
“The acquisition rumors are not true,” an Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.
TechCrunch previously reported that Amazon acqui-hired Angel.ai. The publication has since updated its story to reflect Amazon’s denial of an acqusition.
Amazon and Hadzaad declined to comment on the duties of his new job or the kinds of new bots he may work on at Amazon, but one could imagine that he’s helping build an Amazon chatbot for existing messaging platforms. Then again, he could be helping public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon subsidiary, set up a framework that third-party developers will be able to use to build their own chatbots.
Facebook, Microsoft, and even Oracle have set up systems for building chatbots.
Companies like Kip currently sell products from the Amazon retail marketplace, but there are no Amazon bots on chat platforms with hundreds of millions of users like Line, Viber, or Facebook Messenger.
Formerly known as GoButler, Angel.ai started as a paid virtual assistant in competition with Magic and assistants like Facebook’s M. Now Angel.ai’s technology helps companies understand the intent of a person’s message to complete purchases like hotel bookings, flight reservations, or deliveries. Additional Angel.ai employees and Angel.ai technology and data were also part of the deal, TechCrunch said. The startup has fewer than 20 employees, according to LinkedIn.
The pace of investment in, or acquisition of, bot and AI companies has increased in recent months as companies jockey for position in the market. On Monday Google acquired API.ai, a company centered on machine learning and the creation of chatbots and personal assistants. Last month Apple purchased machine learning startup Turi.
The New York-based Angel.ai was created last year. In July 2015 the startup announced an $8 million funding round led by General Catalyst Partners. Lakestar, Global Founders Capital, Slow Ventures, BoxGroup, Sound Ventures, and Cherry Ventures also participated. As CB Insights pointed out recently, the startup was among the first bot startups to raise venture capital backing from a major investor.