Conversable, maker of automated bots for popular food chains such as McDonald’s, TGI Friday’s, Pizza Hut, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Denny’s, was acquired today by LivePerson.
Other companies using Conversable have been as varied as Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, and government contractor Booz Allen. A platform to help customers better train the machine learning they use was introduced in March 2017.
LivePerson powers conversations for more than 18,000 customers, ranging from Home Depot to Citibank to IBM. The company was founded in the 1990s to connect customer service agents at large companies with customers for live conversations, but it began to branch out in recent years with the rise of third-party platforms for popular messaging apps, starting in 2016 with an integration for Facebook Messenger.
Beyond web chat, LivePerson offers chat management system integrations for WhatsApp, Google RCS, and Apple Business Chat.
Both LivePerson and Conversable were labeled essential parts of the Facebook Messenger Platform ecosystem by Facebook last year.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whereas LivePerson is a publicly traded company that once focused solely on connecting people for web chat — as indicated by the name LivePerson — in 2016 the company started to offer customers automated bots and extend a series of AI services based on years of chat logs between customers and businesses.
Conversable will help LivePerson continue to accelerate its goal of providing conversational commerce products to customers, CEO Robert Locascio told VentureBeat in an email.
“Consumers do not want to download more apps or navigate websites to order ahead. They want to type, tap, or voice order what they want from the messaging services they already enjoy,” he said. “Conversable brings to LivePerson proven social listening and outbound marketing capabilities that enhance conversational commerce, along with a set of templates and integrations that accelerate bot development for common consumer tasks, like ordering ahead at a restaurant.”
As part of the deal, LivePerson has acquired the Conversable platform, brand, and patents. The Conversable team will also join LivePerson, with the exception of cofounders Andrew Busey and Ben Lamm, who will continue to act as advisors. The former Conversable team will continue to operate in Austin, Texas.
This is the fourth of Lamm’s startups to be acquired. Simply Interactive was acquired by Agile in 2010, Chaotic Moon Studios by Accenture in 2015, and Team Chaos by Zynga in 2016.
The acquisition of Conversable means Lamm will now focus full-time on Hypergiant, an AI incubator and seed stage fund working with large companies to develop products. Hypergiant made its launch in February and counts Mythic Ventures, Align Capital, and motivational speaker Tony Robbins among its investors.