Eleven new bot-related startups have caught the eye of cloud-based team collaboration tool Slack, which decided to invest in them, build out its bot portfolio and keep its competitive streak up.
Since just over a year ago, in Dec. 2015, when Slack launched its $80 million Slack Fund, the company has made three rounds of investments. Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Spark Growth and Social+Capital are all involved in the fund.
And, for those that are keeping count, after this current round, Slack has now invested in 25 bot startups. The newest ones joining the list are Guru, Bold, DataFox, Troops, Demisto, SwayFinance, Statsbot, Donut, WorkRamp, Twine and Synveroz.
Slack has faced high competition with the bigger tech firms, like Microsoft, which revealed a similar program to Slack called Teams, and Facebook also unveiled Workplace this fall. Although Slack was first to the market with its type of technology and platform, the bigger firms have tried to encroach on the space by just having a longer history.
But it’s not just about investing in these new startups. Slack intends to use this leverage to revitalize user engagement and keep it top of mind — or “the go-to” — for companies and consumers. TechCrunch said that, while it was first to the game, Slack’s platform may end up encouraging employees to socialize too much on work time, which businesses are likely not fond of. However, with more chatbot and AI technology on board, experts say efficiency could be carried out better.
Bots are certainly gaining credit. Brands across a slew of industries, like travel, fashion, banking, restaurants and hospitality, have already added bots on messaging platforms. And artificial intelligence is showing up in users’ homes from Alexa, to Google Home, to even Mattel unveiling an AI baby monitor named Aristotle.
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