Customer service chatbot start-up BotSkill raises £250,000

The robotic start-up was backed by the British Robotics Seed Fund and counts the Northamptonshire Police Crime Commission as a client

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BotSkill, a robotics start-up that creates customer service chatbots, has raised £250,000 after being backed by the British Robotics Seed Fund (BRSF).

Founded by Andy Wilkins and Lee Skyrme, the London-based start-up operates under a SaaS model and already counts the Northamptonshire Police Crime Commission as a client.

Using this latest injection of cash to further develop its SaaS platform and grow its team, BotSkill predicts that by 2020 80% of businesses will have a chatbot as a communication channel for customers, partners or employees.

Looking to take the pain out of business bots, the robotic start-up is aiming to provide fast no-code chatbot generation for businesses, powered by artificial intelligence.

The service enables businesses to tap into an explosive new direct marketing channel, increased customer personalisation and predictive data analytics.

BotSkill claims that users who sign up to its online platform can “have a best-in-class chatbot up and running in less than 15 minutes” with a free version available in addition to a bespoke service that can ingest customer data and offer thousands of sector specific dialogue patterns.

The second investment of the series, earlier in the month ZOA Robotics bagged £85,000 – becoming the first start-up to raise significant finance via the robotics-focussed investment firm.

Looking to develop a four-legged robots with “the grace of animals that can move anywhere”, the tech start-up is looking to introduce its low cost highly mobile robots to tackle movement of goods across sites with uneven ground and multiple levels, reducing the use of manual labour to move around payloads.

ZOA is currently in the process of using the fresh injection of funds to scale up its existing prototype to carry heavier loads, and implement machine learning for improved control and autonomy.

The robots are targeted at businesses operating on large or remote sites with uneven terrain where items need moving and where wheels struggle  such as oil rigs, industrial process plants and construction sites.

Just last month, both BotSkill and ZOA Robotics were among the first cohort of tech businesses to be featured on a new equity crowdfunding platform for UK robotics start-ups.

Created by Britbots, each business listed on the platform (called Britbots CROWD) accepted a minimum investment amount of £200 and are receiving active mentoring.

Speaking on its investment, Andy Wilkins, CEO & co-founder of BotSkill, said:

“We’re thrilled to work with the British Robotics Seed Fund. With the management team’s strong track record, we feel their investment is a real endorsement of our vision.

Their team also offers a wealth of experience which we can tap into to help us achieve our ambitious growth plans.”

Dominic Keen, CEO of Britbots and founder of the British Robotics Seed Fund, said:

“We believe that we will be speaking to computers a lot more over the upcoming years, and were impressed by the pragmatic and ambitious plans the Botskill’s team have to becoming a leader in this market place.

“Botskill joins our initial portfolio and demonstrates the innovative British ventures in the dynamic field of artificial intelligence and bots.

“Investment from the BRSF is just the start for Botskill, and now a wider number of investors can help the company reach its next milestone through the BritbotsCROWD platform, where we look to reach the company’s £350,000 funding target.”

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