8 Interactive, a Taiwanese startup providing customer service messaging solutions, has announced it has raised about US$654,000 (NT$ 20 million) in angel funding.

The company said in addition to Taiwan, the investors were also based in Hong Kong and Singapore, which is rarely seen in Taiwan. It declined to identify them.

8 Interactive plans to use the funding for hiring AI engineers and expanding its sales team. In the near future 8 Interactive wants to set up shop in Japan and Southeast Asia, which are its priority overseas markets.

The company’s core product, a platform known as “8″, enables businesses to manage customer services across multiple messaging mobile apps, including LINE, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat using one interface.

Currently all popular messaging services offer businesses tools to manage their customers’ messages. However, so far these kinds of companies have not offered a product where messages from different social media apps are integrated in one platform.

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Difficulties retailers face is keeping track of communications when, for example, one customer asks through Facebook Messenger about returning purchases, while another asks about locations of retail outlets on WhatsApp.

8 is useful as businesses currently use multiple messaging services as their marketing tools and customer service channels to talk directly with their customers. It helps them to manage customer relationships across messaging platforms in one application.

Furthermore, the company provides 18 chatbot templates, which let businesses quickly develop online chatting programs to talk with human users.

8 can also help companies create online marketing broadcasts. Using this platform, businesses can choose a template and design a marketing message. Then, with a few clicks, the message can be broadcasted to their customers via various messaging apps.

The company has also created an AI platform, which gathers all conversations with consumers together and analyzes them. The resulting analytic report allows businesses to further understand their customers’ preferences and how online pop-up advertising affects them. In this way, a company can identify its the most valuable customers.

Messaging apps in Asia are used more frequently than in Western markets. “Almost everyone” has installed more than three messaging apps, said Chen Tzu-Lung, the CEO and co-founder of 8 Interactive.

Chen said following 8’s launch three months ago, many companies are already using it.

“We don’t have our own messaging app in Taiwan. Instead we had the opportunity to create the most open cross-platform messaging application for businesses.”

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Businesses using 8 can reach Chinese customers with WeChat, Japanese and Taiwanese customers with LINE, and European and American consumers with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

It plans to expand the application to include more messaging platforms such as South Korea’s Kakao Talk Apple’s iMessage, Skype and Slack, a communication platform that businesses use internally.

In the future, 8 Interactive aims to become a major real-time communications operation center for international e-commerce businesses. Further, it will try to develop a blockchain application that analyzes cross-country transactions.

The article AI-Powered Messaging Services Provider 8 Interactive Announces it Has Raised over US$650,000 in Angel Funding first appeared in Business Next.