Voice powered assistants are already telling us what to wear, how to navigate traffic and the results from our favourite sporting event. However, a team of software programmers believe it’s now possible for digital assistants to tell you how to run your business.
And they’ve done just this, creating and launching the world’s first AI-powered business advisor, BRiN.
The company was first founded in 2015 and now employs 18 people spread between New York, Cebu and their head office in Sydney.
BRiN founder, Dale Beaumont, explains that the app is capable of providing tailored education and human-like support to any entrepreneur on the planet. The user simply downloads the app to start chatting with BRiN about their business problem, after which it will connect you with the most helpful solution.
The company has raised just over $1 million in funding, and Dale’s goal is to create the ‘world’s smartest artificially intelligent business advisor’. Beaumont says, “Think Siri for business and you’re just about there.”
How is BRiN doing so far?
Early results have been impressive with over 30,000 entrepreneurs signing up for the free service and users are now growing organically by 15%-20% month over month. With his sights set on global expansion, Beaumont believes the App has the power to help millions of business owners, 24/7.
While impressive, this is just the beginning. Next year you’ll be able to link BRiN through API to other business applications like Salesforce, MailChimp, QuickBooks, Xero, Google Analytics and others.
“When connected, you will be able to use your voice to ask BRiN about your numbers. For example, you could ask how many leads you have in your pipeline, what is the conversion rate of your website and even how much you spent on electricity in the month of July,” says Beaumont.
“One day BRiN may even help you book flights, pay the wages and order stationery. And it can all be done hands-free while driving to the office.”
When asked if their name has anything to do with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Beaumont explains the link is purely coincidental.
“Following in the footsteps of Siri, Cortana, Watson and Alexa, we wanted a name that was personal, short and easy to remember. So we simply searched ‘Four Letter Names’, and that’s when we found BRiN.”
In terms of business models, Beaumont reveals their goal is to get 100,000 business owners using BRiN within the next 12-months. After this they’ll begin introducing paid subscription plans. He went on to tell Anthill more about the state of AI in Australian business today in the interview below.
How many Australian businesses already use AI?
“To answer this question is like going back to 1997 and asking how many Australian businesses currently have a website. The answer would be a very small percent. Now, 20 years later, well over half of all Australian businesses have a website and the ones that don’t have one, should.
“This type of growth is what we are going to see over the next 20 years in terms of the use and adoption of artificial intelligence. However, because of the compounding growth of technology, I believe that this will happen much faster. In fact, AI worldwide is expected to grow up to 60 billion within the next 3 years.”
How can small businesses afford AI?
“When it comes to using AI, the good news is that it’s now starting to be embedded in most of the software applications that you are using to run your business. For example, if you are using the latest version of Quickbooks or Xero, then you’re probably unknowingly using some AI already.
“However, if you would like to start using AI directly yourself, you can sign up for a free service at a website called www.chatfuel.com. This service enables you to create your own AI-driven customer service chatbot, which can enable you to provide instant answers to common questions that come into your business (ie. what are your opening times or do you stock XYZ brand in your store?).
“Beyond that, there are other advanced things that you can do and thankfully now, you can rent AI capabilities from the likes of Google and Amazon through their cloud-based user platforms. So now, you don’t need to set up your own systems from scratch. You can effectively use these systems that have already been built and pay a small fee every time you use the systems. In short, using AI in your business can cost far less than you think.”
What will AIs role be when it comes to making big business decisions?
“One of the great things about AI is it can help you predict the future by looking at your data and historical records from the past. So now, no longer do you need to rely on making decisions based on gut feel or trial and error.
“AI systems can analyze vast amounts of historical data in a matter of minutes when it could’ve have taken you days and weeks. It can now provide you with data-driven guidance and recommendations that won’t make the decision for you but will certainly have a role to play in influencing how these important decisions are made.”
How can you raise capital for your AI start-up?
AI is certainly a buzz word right now and can assist you in your quest to raise capital to fund your business growth. Also, there are accelerator programs and VC firms that are actively pursuing investments in startups that are using and leveraging AI technology. Do your research and you’ll find a lot of opportunities out there, waiting to be explored.