Chatbot maker [24]7 sees revenue crossing $400 million in FY18: CEO

(Reuters) - Chatbot maker [24]7 Inc expects its revenue to increase 30-35 percent to more than $400 million in its financial year ending March 2018, the company’s chief executive told Reuters.

Chatbots are gaining traction globally as these programs increasingly rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze data and structure customized responses that help generate sales and enhance customer satisfaction.

“We target customers who would visit a website, but would not buy because they have some set of questions. We chat with them, generate revenue and then get a cut from it,” said co-founder and Chief Executive PV Kannan.

Campbell, California-based [24]7's clients include Adobe Systems Inc ADBE.O, Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, Scotiabank, Victoria's Secret and American Airlines Cargo.

The company, which clocks over 40 million chats annually and offers services in Spanish and Mandarin, gets about 75 percent of its revenue from the United States and the rest from UK and Australia.

Kannan said [24]7 has plans to go public but declined to provide details.

The company, which turned profitable by end-2003, last raised capital of about $22 million in the same year. The round was funded in part by Sequoia Capital.

The promise of chatbots is also luring technology biggies.

From Microsoft Corp MSFT.O to Facebook Inc FB.O, global technology majors are integrating artificial intelligence in these services to better serve customers. Today, there are also chatbots that can read human emotions and respond accordingly.

Kannan, however, played down any threats to entry-level outsourcing jobs from chatbots.

“Not all domains are going to be automated. And the BPO business is not going away,” Kannan said.

Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila