Today Zowie, an AI-based customer support system, announced having raised around €508K in seed funding just two years after launching. Formerly known as Chatbotize, Zowie’s flagship product analyzes historical and live conversations to generate ready-to-use chat and email automations. So far, clients utilizing the self-learning technology have been able to automate 50 million engagements per month.
The Polish software startup received investment from a collective including Central European venture capital fund Inovo Venture Partners, with the new funds earmarked for growing the brand in English-speaking markets and developing the product’s technology. High-profile retail clients of Zowie include insurance giant Aviva and cosmetics conglomerates Avon, L’Oreal, and Yves Rocher.
This year, Zowie’s services have been particularly in demand due to Covid-19, with the Polish government utilizing its AI chatbot to provide advice to citizens affected by the pandemic. Since January, the startup has recorded average monthly growth of 12%, aided by its focus on e-commerce, whose value has grown due to the effects of coronavirus.
“Most of the questions that customer support service teams deal with are repeatable and time-consuming,” said Maja Schaefer, Zowie CEO and co-founder. “Zowie allows companies to automatically answer them and quickly solve the most frequent issues, thus giving customer support agents more time to deal with complex questions. We have already proved our technology works and gained trust of Polish and CEE customers. Now we want to help companies from all over the world.”
A 28-year-old ex-IBM programmer, Schaefer is also known for creating software house Codeheroes. An entrant in Forbes 30 Under 30 and winner of a domestic female startup competition, the computer science graduate has the accolades to accompany her business nous.
Following the seed round, Schaefer was singled out for praise by Michał Rokosz, Partner at Inovo Venture Partners: “We met Maja a year before at an industry conference,” Rokosz recalls. “She impressed us by prioritizing talking to customers over the VC funds. This focus on the customer is probably the reason why Zowie managed to achieve an ARR of $500K in just a year and a half without any external funding, which is something truly remarkable in the CEE.
“In just a year, Zowie also managed to completely transform from a services provider to a product company. They have also found a segment of customers that find great value in their solution. The potential market size makes us think this might be a business worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
In addition to Inovo Venture Partners, the latest funding round featured a group of Polish and Israeli angel investors that included Ariel Finkelstein, an expert in building SaaS companies, who has also joined the company board. The investors have pledged to support Zowie by helping it navigate the European, Middle Eastern, and North American markets.