Gradient and 10xFounders support Zowie’s no-code e-commerce customer service tool
Customer service tickets tend to fall into the same categories: returns, refunds, or quality control issues. Not only are these repetitive, but it leaves little time for customer engagement on more complex requests, like relaying product information or helping a customer find the best product for them.
Maja Schaefer and Matt Ciolek, co-founders of Zowie, believe that much of this repetitive work can be automated. They founded the company in 2019, blending their experiences working with an e-commerce startup on both the product development and customer survey side.
“We realized that customer service was not solved by existing solutions because implementing them was so difficult,” CEO Schaefer told TechCrunch. “It would take months to implement and end up being difficult to maintain.”
They pitched chatbots to a client as a solution for repeatable work, and after being tasked with building them in a few weeks, they came up with the idea for Zowie.
Using AI-powered chatbots for customer service is nothing new. Over the past year, we’ve seen companies like Forethought, Heyday, Cognigy, Landbot, and Heyflow announce funding in this area.
However, Schaefer says some competitors require the company to enter responses and other workflow information into the tool. Instead, Zowie’s Zowie X1 technology takes care of automating product- or brand-specific inquiry workflows from the start. The company can analyze the data in minutes and tell a customer what percentage of support tickets Zowie can support, in some cases 50%.
Schaefer estimates that chatbots free up about two hours per agent per day, allowing them to answer questions the chatbot didn’t answer, solve more complex issues, and turn more support into sales. On average, customers can achieve up to 45% more sales, she added.
After seeing revenue triple between 2020 and 2021, the company decided to launch a funding round, raising $5 million in a seed round led by Gradient Ventures and 10xFounders, with participation from Lattice CEO Jack Altman, Giesswein CEO Markus Giesswein and returning investor. Inovo Venture Partners.
The company works with around 100 clients, including Giesswein, Zendesk, Shopify and Gorgias. She expects to use the funding for product development, marketing, sales and sales team growth in the United States and throughout North America. Zowie currently has 36 employees and the plan is to double the team this year.
Some of the product features the company is looking to develop include automation across as many channels as possible, from websites to email to Whatsapp, and to enable features on the sales side so they can navigate through the customer journey.
Darian Shirazi, general partner of Gradient Ventures, says his company was drawn to Zowie in part by its significant revenue pull in a short time and the business the founders are building.
“One of the differentiations we saw when reviewing Zowie was that it was the first AI chatbot for e-commerce that generates your knowledge base,” he said. “Others have to provide the knowledge base to answer questions, and some companies don’t have the time to do that. We had searched the chatbot space, and no one did it well for e-commerce, which is a massive vertical.