Here Are The 5 German Startups from 2 Use Cases of AI in Marketing You Need to Know

5 German Startups from 2 Use cases of AI in Marketing

According to the German Economic Institute, there are to date 164 AI startups in Germany, most of which are based in Berlin, which is expected, considering it’s known as the Silicon Valley of Europe. I had the opportunity to learn about some of them in person at Asia-Pacific Week 2019 Berlin. AI startups cover a variety of industries, but of course, I am most interested in AI application in the marketing industry and the different uses and opportunities it presents. Even within the marketing industry, AI applications can cover a wide variety of purposes. For example, who recalls the Big Data buzz a few years ago? Well, having access to large sets of data is useless without the ability to accurately draw insights from it… That’s where machine learning, a subset application of AI, comes in. Without going into too many technical details, AI-based machine learning algorithms process Big Data, performing Data Labeling/Segmentation, Data Analytics, and Scenario Simulation, to create a big picture with insights and patterns that are sorted out, categorized, and packaged into a digestible form.

Apart from the wealth of knowledge and contacts that I got from attending APW2019, I got my hands on The Hundert Startups of Germany 2018, which, as the title implies, introduces a 100 of the most promising startups in Germany as of 2018. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are 5 German startups from 2 use cases of AI in the marketing industry that I believe are worth checking out and learning about:

Customer Service

Perhaps one of the most mainstream and familiar use case of AI in Marketing are Chatbots. Chatbots aren’t new; they’ve existed since perhaps E.L.I.Z.A in 1966, or if you were like me, you’d recall from your teen years, messing around with A.L.I.C.E from 1995. But of course, the most modern depiction of intelligent chatbots would be Siri, followed by Google Now, Alexa and the army of FB Messenger Bots. The popularity of chatbos in modern business was catapaulted with the use of AI and machine learning, which made them not only an exciting way to engage with customers but an effective method to streamline some customer service processes, and ultimately increase sales. Capitalizing on the rising success of bots of customer service are these German startups:

  1. Solvemate

    Solvemate is a quick to setup and easy to use SaaS platform that uses machine learning to automate 24/7 customer service. What makes Solvemate special? Their virtual agents use only multiple-choice questions to dynamically generate decision trees. With this unique approach, Solvemate clients can reach an average self-service rate of 83% in less than three months, and offer the right solutions in just 12 seconds and in multiple languages.

  2. Twyla

    Twyla positions itself as the world's first professional conversation design software for chatbots. It doesn’t simply give businesses access to an AI-equipped chatbot, but the ability to train it by designing conversational patterns with their own terminology and vocabulary. This gives marketers the chance to personalize a brand’s chatbot to be an accurate extension of the brand’s voice and personality.

  3. Mesaic

    Mesaic is a platform for high mobile engagement through messaging, that leverages the power of automation and AI to transform customer interactions into personalized experiences and continuous relationships across all touchpoints. Beyond chatbots, it specializes in omnichannel and e-commerce solutions that integrates all customer service needs such as browsing products, concluding transactions with payment, and rating.

    Market Research

    This may be a lesser mainstream use case of AI in marketing, but certainly a very important one. Unsurprisingly, advanced data analysis is the #1 AI-tech expected to make an impact on the industry, with 63% of market researchers saying AI will take over data analysis within 10 years, according to a report by Qualtrics. Although 75% of market researchers believe that data produced by AI will be more accurate than it is today, only 40% expect it to explain survey findings as well as humans within 10 years. This sentiment was shared by Dr. Feiyu Xu, Vice President of Lenovo Group and Head of AI lab of Lenovo Research, in her presentation in APW2019. That’s exactly what makes this a good niche market to invest in now, and why these German startups deserve a shout-out:

  4. i2x

    This startup, while also revolving around customer service, focuses real-time conversation analytics and coaching. It aims to improve the communication skills of sales and customer support agents, rather than replace them with chatbots. It empowers them by recording customer calls for playbacks, and analyzing them with a clever combination of machine learning algorithms, big data and communication know-how to improve crucial KPIs (conversion rate and C-Sat score). It also gives feedback to the agents right after each call to level up their communication skills with features such as blacklisting keywords from annoying speech habits, and advising on talk-to-listen ratio, speech rate and volume.

  5. Tawny

Tawny is a pioneer in the field of multimodal AI-powered emotion analytics as it specializes in Emotion AI to “make the world’s products, services and experiences more empathetic”. It enables the analysis of human data from different sensors (e.g. physiological, video, text) to detect emotions and affective states using recognition algorithms powered by affective computing. Among other applications such as the development of tailor-made algorithms for the Automotive industry and detection of athletes’ states to predict future performance, emotion detection allows the assessment of user behavior that can aid User Experience designers and market researchers.

Expected revenue in the emotion detection and recognition (EDR) market to grow from USD 6.72 Billion in 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021 (Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology (Bio-Sensor, NLP, Machine Learning), Software Tool (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition), Service, Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets). Image Credit: HYVE/TAWNY.

Expected revenue in the emotion detection and recognition (EDR) market to grow from USD 6.72 Billion in 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021 (Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology (Bio-Sensor, NLP, Machine Learning), Software Tool (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition), Service, Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets). Image Credit: HYVE/TAWNY.

Beyond the marketing industry, AI has a major impact on the business models of German startups, especially considering 31.6% of them are in the information and communication technology. While 83% of startups sales are made in Germany, 95.4% of these startups plan to target the European market in the future, with other markets being a much lower priority., according to the Deutscher Startup Monitor 2018. So while AI German Startups may not be up to compete on a global scale, they can still serve as interesting case studies for the application of AI in marketing.

What startups from your country do you find most inspiring? Tag them in the comments!

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TedXArabia: An Experience Worth Spreading (Part II)

Resuming my first post of my TEDxArabia experience and the presentations after the first beak, Thamer Shaker got it off on the right foot by bringing in lots of laughter to a really serious topic with the video below. In his presentation of "Elf & Giant", he urged the youth on choosing between being elves, small and insignificant, or giants, grand and visible.

Bassam AlKharashi's Innovation Process and Hani Khojah's Innovation and Collaboration were informational and educational but not much entertaining. The Innovation Process was too technical and directed to a corporate level audience that didn't have a heavy presence at that hall. Hani Khojah's presentation depicted an innovation model which was compromised of an overlap between vision, values, operations and support where he sweetly pointed out his family as his support system.

Following those was Mohamed Al Bakri with his "Mail Man" presentation; his Young Initiative Group is a real inspiration, a group of young guys and girls helping out the world, one initiative at a time. The true inspiration about it is that they all got to know each other on Facebook and decided to collaborate... Yet another successful case on social media for social change!

And for the truest part of ideas worth spreading, comes Joshua To. Invited all the way from USA to KAUST, it was a real pleasure having him speak at TEDxArabia. He immediately got us started on an exercise of making ideas a reality by letting the entire audience write one word on a piece of paper and share it with those sitting around them until each of us had a list of 3 words. With those 3 words, real brainstorming begins to connect them into an unusual idea. His example included an AC, a box, and a flower. The idea that generated was a box attached to an AC that normally sheds enough amount of water to bring to a life a flower planted in that box. That was just a simple idea that brings great benefit to our environment. His presentation was amongst the most vivid in the event.

A couple of presentations after that, AlBara Taibah shared with us one of the topics that I always failed at... time management; apparently, as his book and presentation are titled You Can not Manage Time, and oh boy was I glad to hear that. We all struggle with time, always having lots of things to do and no time to focus on any at all. Or maybe we want to do something we really love but can't find the time in our schedule to do it. AlBara suggests that it is the human that need to be managed, not time. Your activities define the value of your time & how fast/slow your time goes. You need to change your behavior and activities if you wan't to control time. Focus on the activities that add value to your time and eliminate those that has no value to you. On a side note, I really enjoyed the graphics of his presentation. Great job on the branding!

Now this one is a little personal to me and I got a preview of it a day before the event but it was still as good as I expected: Said Baaghil's The Power of Belonging presentation. Being a branding guru, he focused on his journey of branding himself in Saudi Arabia from the moment he got here about 5 years ago. That is a personal passion of mine as I'm a great believer in personal branding and the value you can derive from it. The first highlight of his presentation that got the audience cracking up was his picture with blond hair, the way he met CEOs shocking them with an unexpected look. What better way to leave an impression than to break all pre-perceived conceptions?! 

Though what really left the crowd puzzled was Said's question: 

What will happen to the Apple brand on perception after Steve Jobs? The personal brand of Steve Jobs is Apple and Apple as a brand is Steve jobs. 

Another marketing guru is Dr. Hani Al Manii, and his presentation on Marketing Innovation shared many insights on how to spread the word about your innovation. Most remarkably, he urged innovators to seek (brand) enthusiasts who are characterized of being mavens (really knowledgeable in your domain) and being well-connected. If these enthusiasts believe in your innovation, and spread it among their connections in a positive manner then word-of-mouth advertising taking its course will help you achieve your goal. As a last point, he also urged people to spread other people's innovations! That is an integral part of what Dr Haidy Al Askry suggested at her earlier presentation on being an enabler of innovations and innovative people.

One of my favorite presentations for the evening was Dr. Bader Al Shebani's "PR as a Marketing tool", with the powerful statement in the first slide "You = The Brand". As Said Baaghil pointed out earlier, the power of personal branding is undeniable. Being able to use your own image to leverage your business creates a strong connection between you, your target audience and your brand. He started the presentation by making us all stand while he sat down on the floor of the stage, it was a good move to get the audience lively after a long day of sitting there. Then he went on to talk about his business, Kai gym, and how he utilized PR and marketing himself to promote it. He used humor throughout the speech which made it as fun as it was useful. I'd definitely love to hear more from him.

Another amazing presentation was by Archie Lee, one of Joshua To's teammates, titled "The Office" where he showcased his team's idea on having "+Pool", a plus-shaped pool in the streets of USA to regenerate clean water. The Plus Pool is not only an efficient solution for supplying clean water, but it also looks very refreshing and cool that I can imagine people taking a dip after a busy day at work. Wow, imagine that kind of fun! Same as Joshua, Archie is part of the exercises running at KAUST, and what he came up with with his group of students was on a much larger scale than an AC and a flower in a box. His brainstorming session with the students ended up with a suggestion to use the footsteps of the millions of people who walk around the Kaabah all year round to generate energy which would help sustain the entire city and the regions around it! Imagine the public's reaction when an American who just came to Saudi Arabia on a visit can think of efficiently using the center of Islam for the good of the country in a way that locals who've been here for years never thought of it that way...

The highlight of TEDxArabia was indeed the big finish and Dr Naif AlMuttawa's "The 99". The essence of innovation is seeing what others can't see... and bringing it to reality so brilliantly! An idea that sprung to life from a brainstorming conversation with his sister in a taxi: Pokemon, animation, the West, image of Islam in the West, God, his 99 names... And then the idea grew into an entire production of The 99 comics and movie which we had the pleasure of watching a part of in the event. I'm telling you it felt really special being able to have a theater experience in KSA lol. You can catch the preview below.

And there you have it. I had to skip some parts and presentations and I know that I can talk about this for many posts to come but it will never fully communicate the excitement of being there and gaining lots of insights from so many great minds who are basically just regular people like everyone else but had an idea, and sought it through and now they're spreading it around!

If you were at TEDxArabia, let me know which was your favorite presentation. If you weren't there, and you've enjoyed this post then do your part and spread it around ;)