BBVA picks penguin-powered AI advisor with $9m funding
The text-based AI chatbot, called Charlie, is aimed at less financially astute US consumers.
“Our vision at Charlie has always been to build an AI that brings empathy, simplicity, and financial empowerment to anyone looking for help with their money,” says Ilian Georgiev, CEO and co-founder of Charlie. “With this capital, we’re looking forward to developing new ways to help even more Americans form healthy financial habits.”
The bank cites Gartner to back up its investment, which says 38% of companies around the world are expected to use conversational bots for customer service and managing corporate applications by employees.
Charlie – which is portrayed as a cute AI penguin – offers info on ways to save and how to avoid recurring fees and penalties.
Designed to interact with people via SMS text or Facebook Messenger, Charlie says it is now used by almost 250,000 people – “mostly millennials”.
This latest investment round is aimed at recruiting more staff and supporting growth in the service, with the ambition to take it up to between five to ten million users in the US. In addition, it intends to launch new unspecified features and services.
In non-penguin news, last week BBVA and Santander were two of the banks involved in the European Commission’s (EC) planned launch of the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA) next year.