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South Africa, Technology
Ineffective communication with your clients getting you down? Founders Andrés Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Vera have just the solution for those miscommunication blues: since 2010, their company, BlueMessaging, has been helping organizations communicate with their collaborators and clients across digital channels. Using artificial intelligence, BlueMessaging’s internet platform (BMP), is able to understand and respond to interactions between its clients and their end users via SMS, e-mail, chat, and social networks. With almost 6 billion mobile subscribers globally and the number of Internet users expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2015, mobile and online customer communication will only continue to grow in importance. BlueMessaging’s positive trajectory over the past few years is testament to this rising trend.
Juan and Andrés have been friends since they were kindergarteners in Cali, Colombia. Although they went their separate ways for college—-Andrés to Universidad de Los Andes for a degree in Systems Engineering and Juan to Pontificia Universidad Javeriana for a degree in Industrial Engineering-—they reconnected in 1997 to co-found their first company, Giro Tecnologias, which developed a CRM platform for Colombia’s construction industry. Unfortunately, the company launched just before Colombia’s financial crisis of the late 1990s and was quickly dissolved. Juan then cofounded Sysgold, a provider of corporate mobile solutions that merged with Brazilian company Spring Wireless, and is now owned by Goldman Sachs and SAP, among others. Juan moved to Mexico City to expand the company’s presence in Mexico and Central America. Andrés returned to academics and received a master’s in Computer Science from Stanford University before joining the Stanford Research Institute as a researcher. There he worked on CALO, an artificial intelligence project that developed the technology that ultimately became Apple’s Siri.
In 2007, family life took Andrés to Mexico City, where the two friends were reunited and began looking for a way to work together once again. They kept their respective jobs but decided to rent a small apartment where they spent their free time and hard-earned money creating and experimenting with language recognition software. They occasionally worked with clients to test their technology, most significantly with Procter & Gamble, for whom they executed a shampoo mobile marketing campaign. After two years of research and development, they realized they had the potential to offer businesses across sectors a scalable platform through which to communicate with their clients. However, the entrepreneurs knew that achieving this goal would require full commitment: they quit their jobs, hired a handful of employees and began pitching to clients. By mid-2010, BlueMessaging had a fully operational sales department and a constant stream of new accounts, including Infonavit, Mexico’s largest mortgage lender.
Today, BlueMessaging offers organizations a user-friendly and scalable messaging platform based on artificial intelligence that, like Apple’s Siri, automates two-way communication with customers. BlueMessaging’s clients can select any combination of its eight core services—grouped around customer service, data collection, marketing and sales—to be accessed by end-users via SMS, e-mail, chat, or social networks. By integrating web and mobile applications, artificial intelligence and multi-gateway messaging in one service, BlueMessaging helps its clients dramatically reduce costs per client contact.
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