February 17, 2016
Technology never ceases to amaze us, especially if it is put to the service of our society. And one example of those amazing applications of technology is Assist‘s local services Chat Bot, which has recently raised an investment of $5.5 million.
This investment includes a $1.5 million seed round led by IVP's Dennis Phelps and joined by Dave Morin for Slow Ventures and Owen Van Natt, and a $4 million Series A led by Binary Capital's Justin Caldbeck and Jonathan Teo, plus Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour, Lyft CEO Logan Green, and many more big angels.
But what is Assist and how does it work? Contrary to most services going out these days, Assist does not have an app. Instead, it operates solely on artificial intelligence and several APIs, with an almost complete independence from human operation on the service end.
Using Assist is really easy: with a simple message sent to the service, among other things, book reservations, order tickets, book hotels, send flowers, hire a courier, get food delivered, and more, all by simply having a conversation. Some of the underlying partners include Opentable, Resy, Seamless, Grubhub, Foursquare, Uber, Stubhub, FloristOne, and more.
Assist is available on Facebook Messenger, SMS, Slack, and Telegram. Here is an example of how to use Assist with Postmate, a useful service for deliveries:
Go ahead and give it a try: send a SMS with “HI” to 23232, or use Assist through Facebook Messenger, for example. Assist will automatically ask for some of your details, like your first name and your zip code (as some services require your location), and afterwards allows you to use the service, just like in the screenshot below.
Assist was founded by a team of three with a deep knowledge of technology: Robert Stephens (The Geek Squad Founder and Former CTO at Best Buy), Shane Mac (Former Director of Product at Zaarly) and Giovanni Vatieri (Former Product & Engineering at Front Back).
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