Great things always come out of Africa and FinChatBot is another splendid example of this. Founded by French entrepreneurs Antoine Paillusseau and Romain Diaz, in South Africa, FinChatBot is an AI driven FinTech marvel that automates customer experiences for financial services through performance-driven digital solutions.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Cofounder Antoine, who talked about his entrepreneurial journey and the value proposition of FinChatBot.
Hello Antoine. Please give us an overview of your background, initial career aspirations, and how you got into entrepreneurship?
Antoine: I come from a business background with experience in sales, I then started my first business in 2014 on the lead generation side. I was sold leads to the financial services industry and realised how complex it was to get the transparency needed in order to monitor sales and feedback from the customer experience end. With this insight and further market analysis, we developed and launched FinChatBot.
How much of your background and environment influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
Antoine: My experience in Business Strategy, Sales Management and Venture building across both Africa and Europe has influenced my entrepreneurial journey. I am passionate about creating innovative solutions as well as constantly conceptualising new ways to improve on my suite of products, I am also committed to enabling entrepreneurial talent in Africa.
How much support have you received through your entrepreneurial journey?
Antoine: I have received a lot of support during my journey. I am extremely grateful for every opportunity which has increased the growth of the business. We were part of an incubator called Far Ventures based in Cape Town that assisted us with building the minimum viable product (MVP) to get traction on our first clients. We then went on to raise an angel round of funding that really helped us as a team to build the right product.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders that are looking to launch or scale their business?
Antoine: I believe if you are passionate about your idea/vision you should take the risk. Find employees who are hard working but who are excited about the dream and willing to make it become a reality.
Where did the idea for FinChatBot come from and how did you validate its demand?
Antoine: FinChatBot is a FinTech Startup, founded in Cape Town, South Africa. It was co-founded by two passionate French Entrepreneurs, Antoine & Romain to help financial service providers acquire & retain customers using AI-powered conversations. We recognised that call centres are increasingly under pressure, inefficient, saturated and expensive. Often not delivering the intended results in terms of sales conversion and customer satisfaction. Thus we dedicated FinChatBot to the goal of bringing people closer to financial services with an interactive and fun experience, while enabling financial service providers to enhance customer experience and maximise business performance by saving time and money.
What is the operating business model, value proposition and target market of FinChatBot?
Antoine: Our business model is based on both SAAS and a performance fee. We are not just a software provider to our clients but a fully integrated partner. We fully manage the solution and work closely with clients to optimise performance over the long-term.
How was FinChatBot initially funded?
Antoine: We were part of an incubator called Far Ventures based in Cape Town that assisted us with building the minimum viable product (MVP) to get traction on our first clients.
AI is at the core of FinChatBot’s value proposition. What would you say are the pros and cons of using AI technology?
Antoine: Customers have increased their use of self-service during the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Salesforce, 65% Of customers prefer self-service for simple matters. In addition, 83% Of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact a company. The increased demand for customer service isn’t being met with increased resources as businesses take a hard look at their budgets amid economic uncertainty. Conversational agents help automate 80% of customer queries so call center agents can focus on more complex queries. As an example, a popular tactic for relieving agents of high-volume, low-complexity cases is deflecting them to an AI-powered chatbot in the first place.
What key challenges has FinChatBot faced since its launch and how have you navigated these?
Antoine: There were not many challenges. The team quickly adapted to working remotely, and we used tools like Slack, Zoom and Google Hangouts to communicate. We have been fortunate enough to expand the team and grow during this pandemic. The need for conversational AI solutions has increased drastically over the past year.
How many people does FinChatBot employ in Africa and what is your geographical reach within Africa?
Antoine: 23 employees in South Africa. We have employees in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
What are FinChatBot’s future plans for expansion if any?
Antoine: We started FinChatBot in South Africa but have since expanded the business to Portugal, France and the UK. We are also looking to expand further into Europe as well as into West Africa.
We have come to the end of the interview, and would like to thank you for participating in this Q&A session.
Antoine: Thank you