The best young entrepreneurs of 2016 raise 1.5 million euros to launch the service of the future

UTRECHT- Immediate, accurate responses from customer service, all the time: it sounds too good to be true. But soon this fantasy will become a reality thanks to Alexander Wijninga and Charl Haas. Named the best young entrepreneurs of 2016, these two will launch Watermelon Messenger on February 1. It’s an incredibly innovative customer service platform powered by artificial intelligence. They plan to revolutionize how customer service happens all over the world.

Watermelon vs. WhatsApp

It’s not these business partners’ first time at the customer service rodeo. In 2015 they launched Watermelon as a tool for businesses to use WhatsApp for customer service. This was a real white space in the market – Heineken, Randstad and the Dutch Tax Authority quickly became customers. But WhatsApp took notice of their success – and issued a cease and desist order which led to Watermelon declaring bankruptcy in July 2016.

One platform for all communication

Despite this setback, Wijninga and Haas were convinced of their vision to make customer service easier and more fun. Shortly after the bankruptcy was declared, they started developing Watermelon Messenger. The platform was designed a tool for businesses to communicate on social media channels, but from one dashboard as opposed to separately on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, chat and e-mail. Later they’re adding Skype, Line, Twitter, Instagram, WeChat and when an official API is available – WhatsApp.

Customer service of the future 

Watermelon Messenger is powered by a unique chatbot technology. Think of the Watermelon chatbot as a virtual employee that can instantly respond to customer questions, and respond to an infinite number of incoming inquiries simultaneously. This frees up time for customer service employees to have more extensive human contact to answer more complex inquiries. No more telephone queues, or waiting days or weeks for a response. In the second half of 2016, Watermelon has already created several artificially intelligent chatbots for companies like Randstad, de Zaak and the UWV. 

1,5 million euro

Watermelon Ventures, the trust fund behind Watermelon Messenger, is investing 1,5 million euro to develop Watermelon Messenger. Watermelon Ventures had already raised a substantial amount of private investment capital from two brothers who see the promise of the company and the people behind it. The funds will be used to further build out the Watermelon platform, further development of the chatbot technology and for market penetration in the Benelux and the rest of Europe. 

Chatbot experience

Another company in the Watermelon Ventures  portfolio – ‘melon.ai’ – made those AI-powered chatbots possible. The chatbots developed by melon.ai integrate seamlessly with the Watermelon platform. There have since been many additional requests to build ‘custom’ chatbots. 

The beta version of Watermelon Messenger is available from February 1st for free (freemium). Create an account at watermelon.nl.