News & Analysis

Auckland chatbot startup Ambit raises NZ$1.75 million

- February 27, 2019 2 MIN READ
Ambit

New Zealand startup Ambit, which helps clients create custom chatbots, has raised NZ$1.75 million ($1.7 million) as it looks to grow globally.

Founded by Josh Comrie, Gareth Cronin, and Tim Warren in 2017, Ambit’s platform enables clients to design, build, integrate and analyse “digital employees”, or chatbots. It has worked with the likes of Vodafone, KPMG, and Glassons.

The funding, raised from investors including Lewis Holdings Limited, the investment arm of New Zealand business leader Sir David Levene, and K1W1, the investment arm of Sir Stephen Tindall, follows the company’s NZ$500,000 mid-2017 seed round.

It will go towards growing the team’s roster of software engineers and sales staff to help drive growth in Australia and the US. The startup stated it will also be focused on further developing its machine learning and data science capabilities.

Comrie, CEO of Ambit, said that the company is well placed to capitalise on the burgeoning market for AI solutions.

“Our platform enables completion of an otherwise 12-month project within four to eight weeks. Ambit have constructed something globally unique and we’re excited to be able to now take this to new markets,” he said.

“Our collective experience in company growth, investing and product development has enabled us to scale to a team of 20 in a short time. Being a [software-as-a-service] business with customers in New Zealand and Australia, and with a partner in the USA, Ambit is poised for exponential growth.”

The funding comes as more enterprises develop chatbots; the AI market is predicted to be worth US$1.2 trillion by 2020.

UBank, the digital bank launched by National Australia Bank in 2008, announced earlier this month its launch of intelligent assistant Mia to help customers through their home loan applications.

Built in collaboration with tech company FaceMe, Mia – short for My Interactive Agent – is the third UBank project to be powered by artificial intelligence, following the launch of RoboChat and RoboBrain.

According to UBank, Mia will be able to listen to and answer more than 300 questions customers most often have about the home loan application process, such as what classifies as an expense to what is a variable rate, delivering responses via synthesised speech.

The bank stated that its AI-driven projects have been well received by customers, with four in five stating they are happy to use RoboChat. RoboChat has answered more than 50,000 questions since launch, or around 86 per day.

Image: Josh Comrie. Source: Supplied.

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