Costanoa Ventures, SV Angel invest in AI startup
Photo Credit: Thinkstock, a conversational commerce platform, has raised $3 million in seed investment led by Costanoa Ventures with support from SV Angel, according to a post on the company website.

The California-based company will use the new capital to build its platform and enable brands to acquire, engage and transact with consumers through popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat and iMessage. is an artificial intelligence-powered platform that helps brands engage with their clients and drive conversions for their business. It was founded in 2016 by Mahi de Silva, Manoj Malhotra, Mark Fruehan and Arvind Gupta, who was most recently the head of the IT cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

De Silva, Malhotra and Fruehan also started advertising firm AdMarvel in 2008. In 2013, this firm was rebranded as Opera Mediaworks. Prior to founding AdMarvel, the team built the mobile messaging and content business at VeriSign.

“Despite all of the technological innovation, marketing is still done one campaign at a time, where brands have very limited access to audience profile and engagement data. We’re building to upend that paradigm to give brands greater power to acquire customers, engage them with content and monetise the engagement,” said Mahi de Silva, chief executive of the company.

The platform features full lifecycle management and analytics, an AI-powered natural language engine and security features. The company's team spans Europe, Asia and Latin America. It has made chatbots for Telangana Today,, and others.

Costanoa Ventures is an early-stage VC firm whose investments focus mostly in SaaS infrastructure and marketplaces.

A number of startups offering chatbots services have raised funds recently.

Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup raisedRs 3 crore in a round of funding led by Haresh Chawla, a partner at India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA) in December 2016. Existing investor Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures also participated in this round. The startup has built a product named Niki, a bot that lets users order anything through a chat interface.

In November last year, B2B marketing automation firm MarianaIQ secured $2 million in seed funding led by venture capital firm Exfinity Venture Partners. The firm automates the marketing process for companies using artificial intelligence, specifically deep-learning technologies.

In June 2016, an AI-powered Travel app chatbot Mezi raised $9 million (Rs 60 crore) in Series A funding from Saama Capital, American Express Ventures and existing investor Nexus Venture Partners. Mezi’s personal assistant app is powered to learn shopping preferences and create a personalised experience over messaging.

Global technology giants Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Amazon have introduced chatbots on their platforms. Last year, Facebook announced that over 11,000 bots have been added to its Messenger platform and 23,000 developers have been added to its Bot Engine.

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