Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way since John McCarthy coined the term back in 1955. Today, this cutting-edge technology has invaded into every aspect of our lives, so much so that a group of researchers at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, recently produced an AI that is naturally curious.

According to experts, AI will further evolve into something which would outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task. But, they say, it is still at least a decade away.

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In India, too, AI is taking strident steps. Every business, be it B2B or B2C, is now looking to add AI capabilities to their products in a bid to provide a better customer experience and increase the stickiness. Startups have also realised the importance of integrating AI and chatbots, in order to stay relevant in the game.

Zoro.IM is one such a startup that leverages AI to make the life easy. This Bhavnagar (Gujarat)-based startup has developed a chatbot, called Robin, that aims to make shopping fun and easy. This chatbot can suggest products for you and pull the best offers, deals, and coupons on various products from various e-commerce stores in India — all in a matter of seconds. No more wasting of time by searching for products on various e-commerce platforms.

“Robin is designed keeping in mind the next generation consumers, that’s millennials,” Zoro Founder Jimmy Padia told e27. “It is your AI shopping buddy. Now you keep your virtual shopping assistant in your pocket. Just type in a query on the chatbox and Robin will throw at you all the best offers, deals and coupons on any product, brand or business category in a matter of seconds.”

For instance, you can ask Robin “Hey, I am getting hungry, can you suggest some offers on pizza?” Or, “Can you suggest me some kurtis?” Or, “Hey Robin, find me Nikon Camera under INR 10,000.”

The chatbot will then immediately throw out the best deals and offers in the respective category.

Zoro was incorporated in September 2016 by Padia (CEO) and Chintan Parikh (CTO). An Engineering graduate, Padia is also founder of JPC Technologies, an IT services company. Parikh has been working with Padia at JPC for over five years, and leading some of most complex projects in the web, mobile and communication.

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“Our background has been in communication technologies. When we understood AI and its vast applications, we thought of applying this tech to the communication use case between consumers and businesses. We further brainstormed and came up with some specific use cases leading to the development of Zoro and Robin,” Padia said.

Moving forward, Zoro intends to monetise the Robin chatbot by introducing native ads, as well as by charging a referral fee when a product is bought from an e-commerce store. Robin would be partnering with various brands, wherein it will place their products higher than other brands when it makes suggestions to users. The company also looks to make money by sending a notification to users when a product is launched.

In addition, Zoro will licence the chatbot to e-commerce companies as an added revenue source.

Currently focussed on India, Zoro has plans to take the chatboat overseas. “We are also in process to launch Zoro in few other countries along with our partners. We believe it has a very scalable model and we intend to make it a global app,” Padia added.

Bootstrapped so far, Zoro is currently in process of raising funds, and the team is in talks with a few Indian and overseas VC funds to raise money.

The startup plans to set up another development and sales office either in Ahmedabad, Pune or Bangalore.

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Image credit: Zoro