Vonage Buys Conversational Commerce Startup Jumper.ai
Cloud communications giant Vonage has conversational commerce startup Jumper.ai for an undisclosed price. Vonage will fold the Singapore-based Jumper’s team, and its transaction-focused AI engine and chatbot platform into its product division as the space gets increasingly competitive.
Jumping to Vonage
Jumper.ai launched four years ago as a tool for businesses to connect with customers on websites, social media, and messaging apps. The startup’s chatbot builder offered a streamlined approach to building chatbots that are capable of selling products and answering customer questions and complaints. The AI analyzes customer behavior and shares insights with the brand to help shape any future development and sales strategies. In turn, the chatbot could pass on future promotions to customers who might be interested. Jumper counts major brands like Disney, Dove, Burger King, and L’Oréal among its clients, encompassing a broad range of consumer goods and services. Disney, Axe, Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Burger King, and others in food, retail, entertainment, hospitality, and travel.
“Jumper.ai was built with a mission to help businesses respond to the increasing use of instant messaging as the most preferred mode of communication, both for connecting with family and friends and for receiving immediate, personal, and attentive experiences from brands,” Jumper.ai CEO Yash Kotak said in a statement. “We are excited to be joining the Vonage team. Combining our market-leading technologies presents an opportunity to create new, amazing customer experiences, leveraging Jumper.ai technology and the global reach of Vonage.”
Conversational AI is attracting a lot of interest right now on a broader scale. For instance, Kore.ai raised $70 million this month to widen its own enterprise conversational AI efforts. That funding is just part of the avalanche of acquisitions and investment in the technology, partly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft’s nearly $20 billion acquisition of Nuance is easily the most eye-catching number in the space, but the $78.15 million scored by Yellow.ai, Shelf.io’s pickup of $52.5 million, and Gupshup collecting $100 million are just a few of the other recent standouts as the market expands.
Text-based shopping, in particular, is having a big moment. Walmart just announced it would be testing a text-based shopping tool last week. At the same time, former Walmart e-commerce chief Marc Lore has even begun a new conversational commerce technology startup called Wizard Commerce, which recently raised $50 million. Vonage clearly sees how the market is going in looking to augment its services with Jumper’s AI.
“The addition of Jumper.ai’s conversational commerce and omnichannel capabilities fits perfectly into Vonage’s strategy and is a natural extension of Vonage’s offerings. It transforms customer interactions from notifications and simple communications to conversations across the spectrum of customer engagement points,” Vonage CEO Rory Read said in a statement. “With conversational commerce capabilities, we are meeting new and existing customer needs now and are positioned to continue to meet their evolving needs well into the future, providing businesses with embedded commerce capabilities to simplify the way they serve, connect with, and sell to their own customers from anywhere, on any channel.”