September, 20, 2017
A chatbot for banks
19 Jan
2017
Posted by S Meera

Founded by banking veterans, Active.ai wants to enable better customer experience for banks using artificial intelligence.

Singapore-headquartered Active.ai, is working towards a grand vision of using AI-based Chatbots to help banks not only handle customer service but also eventually complete transactions. “Our expertise enables our platform to be deeply connected to a financial platform via APIs or messaging interfaces, thereby automating customer service at a lower cost,” explains Ravi Shankar, co-founder and CEO, who was formerly group executive vice president at Yes Bank. He considers the team’s deep expertise of over two decades in Financial Technology (before the word ‘fintech’ became popular) as a key differentiator for the firm.


Our expertise enables our platform to be deeply connected to a financial platform via APIs or messaging interfaces, thereby automating customer service at a lower cost.


Challenges and Opportunities

“In our industry, we are constantly challenged by regulations, customer adoption to newer technologies and competing with big and established technology players,” says he. This apart, security and data protection are key aspects that need to be built into any banking technology product.

Of course, there are also several opportunities emerging – including mobile and messaging adoption, which are expected to completely disrupt the way banking is done. “We understand customers are struggling with solutions out there today which are clunky and require a certain knowledge to get banking processes or payments done. So we built a platform which is easy to use and simplifies banking,” he explains. He details it further, calling it as easy as sending a message on Facebook messenger to a friend. “Now imagine you need to know your account balance. On our platform, all you need to do is send a message via messenger to your bank bot – "What’s my balance?”Or, simply, ‘Balance kya hai?’” The platform will connect to the customer’s bank and get that information. Especially from a financial inclusion perspective, he believes this (using bots) will be the simplest way to get millions of customers banking.

Active.ai can be used to get an account balance, pay bills and even transfer payments, through simple messages. The SaaS-based platform can be integrated with Facebook Messenger, Amazon Echo, Siri and various messaging platforms. In India, the company serves several customers including Axis Bank and it is focused on expanding its customer base in Asia and North America.

In November 2016, the company raised US $3.5 million from Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures India, with the goal of becominga significant player in banking technology, serving a few hundred million customers in the next three years. In short, it wants to become a leader in the messaging-based mobile banking space.


Snapshot

Venture: Active.ai

Founders: Ravi Shankar, Shankar Narayanan

Funding:US $3 million from Kalaari Capital, IDG Ventures; US $ 0.5 million from Kalaari’s incubator, KStart

Focus:SaaS, AI-based engagement platform for financial services companies

Comments
No comments for the article
Editor's Pick
  • The Snapdeal Pivot

    In January 2013, Snapdeal had a mere US $100,000 in the bank, a small chunk left after it had burned through almost all of the US $57 million it had raised since September 2009. Th...

  • Transformation by design

    Polaris’ Arun Jain has engineered a unique strategy at the mid-sized financial technology company, incubating a robust products company from within a running services entity. He ...

  • In coffee, we trust

    Tata Starbucks is the coming together of two iconic brands. 34-year-old Avani Saglani Davda, the company’s CEO, explains to us why her game plan for Starbucks in India is to “g...

  • Where there’s traction, Money will follow

    Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO, Zomato, shares a great working relationship with investor Sanjeev Bikhchandani of Info Edge for one simple reason: Bikhchandani is more entreprene...

  • Playing 20 Questions with Mittu Chandilya

    The AirAsia India boss discusses his interview experience with Tony Fernandes, his firm-and-fair management style and why it is crucial to be a serial innovator to win in the aviat...

  • Where ownership and management are different

    Dr. Ranjan Pai, Managing Director, Manipal Education and Medical Group, has led the professionalisation of the Group by consciously empowering his senior managers, seeding several ...

  • Building a Happy Company

    Ashok Soota-led Happiest Minds Technologies has woven happiness into its business process. Find out how you can do it too....

  • Narayana Health’s ten-year plan

    Narayana Health’s Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty wants to rewrite India’s healthcare story. His personal mantra: it is pointless talking about all the advancements in healthcare if peo...

  • Creative Dialogue on Scaling Up

    Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan indulges in a creative, freewheeling chat with L. Kannan and Vijay Babu of Vortex Engineering, a solar-ATM manufacturer....

  • "Businesses don’t go anywhere, people do"

    Mindtree’s Subroto Bagchi urges entrepreneurs to think of their journey as a process of continuously creating infrastructure – physical, intellectual and emotional. He specific...