A chatbot for banks

A chatbot for banks

Fintech 35

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.


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

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.

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