Mezi is an artificial intelligence (AI) based startup that was founded in Sunnyvale, California in 2015, and it’s big claim to fame is for developing a shopping and travel chatbot that’s human assisted and goes by the same name. American Express has seen the potential of the startup and acquired it in a deal that’s estimated to be worth around $125-150 million.
Every time you use this personal assistant it learns and improves. It can do tasks such as requesting vegetarian meals on planes, arranging restaurant or car rental reservations, rescheduling flights, and even checking you in at the airport. While there is some human intervention needed in some of the more custom requests, the AI deals with much of this automatically.
The startup was founded just 3 years ago, but already has 60 employees under its belt. Originally starting as a personal concierge service, Mezi is so much more now. “We saw that our travel vertical was growing 300% month-on-month, whereas our other verticals were growing 70% month-on-month. It was a no brainer,” said chief executive of Mezi, Swapnil Shinde. “The top use cases are flights, hotels, and dining.” So far Mezi has had more than 100,000 unique visitors with an engagement rate of an impressive 85%.
Mezi had raised around $12 million back in 2016 in a funding round that saw American Express first jump onboard. Phil Norman is VP of American Express Digital Labs and he is just one many from the company that’s pleased with the new acquisition. “Mezi’s AI-powered experience opens up exciting new ways for us to connect with and serve our card members and creates opportunities for us to build more meaningful relationships with them,” said Norman. “With messaging emerging as channel of choice for many, and the demand for unique experiences increasing, we believe the combination of Mezi’s capabilities with our global network of expert travel counselors creates a differentiated, high-touch service experience for our card members.”
Following the acquisition, the future for Mezi seems to be to carry on as it is but as a branch of American Express. It will continue to be led by its co-founders and will continue to “develop its core technologies and enhance its capabilities” within the travel sector. And problems will be reported up to Phil Norman. Other companies that have also invested in Mezi include Nexus Venture Partners and Saama Capital.