American Express acquires Nexus Venture-backed virtual travel assistant Mezi
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Global financial services company American Express has acquired virtual travel assistant Mezi as part of efforts to boost its digital concierge offerings.

American Express said in a statement on Tuesday Mezi will operate as its wholly owned subsidiary after the acquisition. It did not disclose the details of the transaction.

Mezi co-founders Swapnil Shinde and Snehal Shinde will continue to lead the unit, AmEx said. They will report to Phil Norman, vice-president, Amex Digital Labs, global consumer services group, American Express.

The startup was founded in 2015 and had raised its first external round of funding from Indian venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners the same year. In July 2016, Mezi raised Series A funding from American Express Ventures, the investment arm of American Express, along with domestic VC firm Saama Capital and Nexus.

The Mezi app allows travellers to message their requests for flights, hotel or restaurant reservations. It provides recommendations and makes travel arrangements at the customer’s request.

“With messaging emerging as channel of choice for many, and the demand for unique experiences increasing, we believe the combination of Mezi’s capabilities with our global network of expert travel counsellors creates a differentiated, high-touch service experience for our card members," said Norman.

Mezi is part of Nexus Venture’s portfolio of US firms, although the app has some India presence. The US team of Nexus Venture Partners is led by its co-founder Naren Gupta.

Nexus Venture’s most recent deal in Silicon Valley was an investment in HyperTrack Inc., a startup that helps businesses track their executives and products in real time. Its other bets in US-based companies include Minio Inc., an open-source-based cloud object storage startup; Druva Inc., an enterprise backup solutions provider; and Infoworks.io Inc, a data warehousing company.

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