Square acquires conversational AI startup Eloquent Labs

Square has acquired conversational artificial intelligence startup Eloquent Labs to help its merchants improve customer service.

Eloquent Labs, which raised a $1.5 million seed round back in early 2017, offers a conversational assistant named Elle to small businesses. The idea is that Elle will help merchants common customer service-related issues like returns, product tracking and FAQs.

“Eloquent’s conversational AI services are exactly the kind of technology that can level the playing field for businesses of all sizes by providing sellers efficient ways to interact with their customers,” Square wrote in a blog post. “The team will advance messaging across our entire ecosystem, and together we will build tools that leverage the latest in natural language processing research.”

There are a number of other startups in this space, including customer service software LiveChat, DigitalGenius and Olark. All three of those have raised more money than Eloquent Labs, which likely played a role in Square’s decision.

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