ShopChat, a message commerce solution based in a San Francisco, California, has raised $1.25 million in seed funding.
The investment round was led by Rakuten with participation from undislcosed angel investors from Silicon Valley and Europe.
As part of Rakuten’s strategic investment and partnership, ShopChat now powers Viber’s recently announced message commerce to its massive user base, FinSMEs reports.
As CEO, Zephrin Lasker, co-founded ShopChat in 2016 as a mobile shopping keyboard that lets users shop on e-commerce platforms from their smartphone keyboards while carrying on in conversations inside a messenger app. The keyboard works with major messenger apps including Apple iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp, WeChat, Google Chat, Kik Messenger, Tango and Line among others.
The company counts some big name brands including Sephora, Guess and Foot Locker as retail partners. Since the company just launched out of beta, the ShopChat shopping keyboard is now available to the public for free on the Apple App Store and is launching on Google Play in the coming months.
Company executives said the new investment will be used to to develop new features, to grow its engineering and product teams and expand into new markets, e27 reports.
“No one really wants to talk to a computer, any more than they want to talk to a voice response system,” Lasker said in a statement. “That’s been the problem with shopping bots. What people really want is a better way to share products with friends, and to be able to buy right from chat, where they are already spending most of their time.”