Charles, a self-proclaimed ‘conversational commerce’ tool, is launching from Berlin today with €1 million in funding. The software enables merchants and consumer brands to sell products via WhatsApp and other chat apps. Investors include business angels such as Tarek Müller (CEO AboutYou) and Alexander Graf (CEO Spryker Systems, Kassenzone).
Essentially, the German startup helps companies integrate their existing e-commerce and chatbot tools into one interface, where all messaging and chat apps are also integrated. Within conversational commerce, customers can ask questions, discover products, order and re-order, track shipping, get return labels and personalised notifications about deals.
Similar to Shopify starting as a snowboard shop, the idea for the software sprang from starting a clothing brand that sells exclusively via WhatsApp. Co-Founder Artjem Weissbeck said over a quarter of the first 1,000 buyers bought again within a month.
“After numerous brands approached us and asked which software we are using, we recognized the massive demand there is in the B2B-market and decided to pivot into building the software ourselves,” he said.
The startup’s founders and investors alike believe that conversational commerce “may become the biggest disruption for brands since the rise of e-commerce and social media”.
Photo: Founders Artjem Weissbeck and Andreas Tussing