Recently Sam Altman from Y Combinator announced a new online Startup School. It’s a 10-week massively open online course (MOOC). The idea is to teach everyone how to start a startup and help them along the way with guidance from people who’ve started companies.
Startup School will have guest speakers covering a wide variety of topics, including Alan Kay, Jan Koum (WhatsApp), Patrick Collison (Stripe), Steve Huffman (Reddit), Jason Lemkin (SaaStr), Harry Zhang (Lob), Dalton Caldwell (YC), Emmett Shear (Twitch), Adam D’Angelo (Quora), Alex Schultz (Facebook), Tracy Young (PlanGrid), Michael Seibel (YC), Kirsty Nathoo (YC), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Ali Rowghani (YC), Jess Lee (Sequoia), and Aaron Harris (YC).
Our company ChatBottle was one of a few chatbot startups enrolled in the course. Each group has its own mentor, usually a founder of a well-known company or a YC alumni. We were lucky to work with Ryan Bubinski from Codecademy. The total number of messaging and voice chatbot startups is close to 50. Here are the ones from the course I thought were the best.
Reply is an enterprise-level bot building platform that allows you to build and manage cross-platform bots across all messaging apps, no coding required. Reply.ai is being used by KIA, Nike, VAIO, HP, and others, and the platform integrates with major customer support platforms such as FreshDesk, Zendesk, and LiveChat.
The first ecommerce fashion and shopping chatbot for Facebook Messenger, ChatShopper asks users about their fashion taste and replies back with the product suggestions. “We believe in conversational interfaces and investing in NLU and deep learning to make fashion shopping via chat an awesome experience,” says Antonia Ermacora, a ChatShopper cofounder. Earlier, ChatShopper won the First ChatBottle Awards as the best ecommerce chatbot of 2016.
BotMakers is a marketplace that helps chatbot development agencies and indie developers make money from selling Facebook Messenger chatbots templates. The marketplace makes AI chatbots affordable for small and mid-size companies. Instead of creating a chatbot from scratch businesses can go to BotMakers website, pick a template that fit their business needs and have an AI chatbot running in minutes. Pricing for simple Messenger bots starts from $50 per month.
Botanalytics is a chatbot conversational analytics tool. It helps bot owners to improve their human-to-bot communication with identifying bottlenecks, filtering conversations, and understanding engagement. Botanalytics recently announced the support of bots created with Chatfuel and Motion.AI.
Weps is a website builder that uses a chatbot to make building a website more intuitive. This allows people with no web skills to get their website up and running in less than 30 minutes. Weps’ chatbot builds websites by asking yes-or-no questions of the user. There’s zero coding. No drag-and-drop interface. Weps structures and designs the website — users only need to fill in the blanks with pictures and content. Hosting, unique domain, and support is included in the 6 euros per month. Weps works on any device.
Australian Busybot makes it easy to manage your personal and team tasks, directly in Slack. Turn any message into a task, and Busybot will automatically organize everything by channel. Busybot is free to use for as long as you want, for teams of all sizes.
Tars is building a new way to collect user input (e.g., filling out forms) on mobile. It is a chatlike interface where a user replies to one question at a time and his reply is the input. Tars automates ordering and booking process, provides users a refreshing new chat interface to provide feedback, lets the bot resolve customers’ frequently asked queries, and helps a user understand about your product and services through an engaging conversation.
Botsociety is a tool to design, preview, and export your Messenger chatbot. It takes just four clicks to start designing your bot conversation. Pick a name and a profile picture, and you’re ready to go. Make an AVI or GIF out of your sketch. You can now use it for marketing materials, promoted Facebook posts, and more.
Hunch is an AI-powered marketing analyst that helps you understand what’s happening with your customers without being a data science ninja. Hunch constantly analyzes and monitors your data. Then, it gives you and your product and marketing teams insights and alerts, all in understandable natural language. This empowers your organization to make better decisions, faster.
Rocco works directly with your team on slack as your AI-powered social media marketing assistant. Rocco handles content creation and posts for you on all your social media networks. The service learns the ins-and-outs of your business and brand voice and then suggests fresh content that your followers are likely to engage with based upon.
Botsify helps businesses to create Facebook Messenger chatbots without any coding. Technical users can go the extra mile with Botsify by integrating their APIs with a chatbot to make it extra effective. People can analyze their bot’s different behaviors and also deliver marketing campaigns to the people who opted for it.
Alexander Gamanyuk is the founder of ChatBottle, a chatbot discovery platform.