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Joburg start-up integrates payments into Facebook

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Facebook introduced peer-to-peer payments to Messenger in 2015.
Facebook introduced peer-to-peer payments to Messenger in 2015.

Johannesburg-based tech start-up DigiBot has developed a payment gateway integrated into Facebook Messenger and Web site chatbots.

Facebook introduced peer-to-peer payments to Messenger in 2015. In April this year, the social media doyen announced that Facebook Messenger users could send or receive money between groups of people within the app.

DigiBot says after analysing how much time in a day is wasted in long queues, tedious time spent on calls to customer service departments and delayed e-mail responses, the tech and software development company's co-founders - Prakhar Srivastava and Tyrone Crowie - decided it was time to start innovating, using the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence technology.

They then developed a solution that simplifies the communication gap between B2B and B2C by using smart messaging and programmatic AI, using the latest application programming interfaces (APIs) available.

According to Crowie, DigiBot started developing the solution in July 2016, and has had many iterations since then. "This is an ongoing development as there are many APIs and integrations with third-party applications," he notes.

"We are ideally targeting the insurance, telecoms, lead generation and retail sectors. However, this solution is catered to any business that has an online presence. We are also competing with international companies and are going to compete in international markets."

Crowie revealed DigiBot is in the finalisation stages with a major lead-generation company in Cape Town, as well as LottoStar South Africa.

He explains the technology allows any business to start a communication channel with their customers via popular social media outlets and corporate Web sites alongside the likes of Facebook, Google and WeChat, thus allowing real-time communication between customers and service providers.

The Smart Messaging and AI technology makes it easy for customers to get in touch with their service providers without having to close their current app or Web site in use.

"With the preferred medium that customers query or require any type of services being channelled through their software, be it secure transactions, instant messaging to customer services channels or simple notifications, every user will interact with the services provided by DigiBot," Crowie notes.

"On a continent with increasing demand for digitisation, DigiBot's technology bouquet ensures every mobile device user in Africa and globally can be empowered to communicate smoother and faster, resulting in rapid query resolution and increased productivity."

DigiBot is one of the top eight finalists of the Embassy of Israel Tel Aviv Microsoft Biz Spark 2017 innovation competition.

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