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American Express acquires AI travel assistant startup Mezi

American Express acquires AI travel assistant startup Mezi

American Express announced today that it has acquired an AI-based personal travel assistance app, Mezi for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2015, Mezi helps users to plan and book trips. Customers simply message their requests for flight and hotel reservations to Mezi and it then finalizes bookings. The app uses artificial intelligence to learn customer’s preferences and recommends flights and hotels based on previous bookings.

Co-founders of Mezi, CEO Swapnil Shinde and his twin brother, CTO Snehal Shinde, before creating Mezi, launched Dhingana, an Indian streaming service which was later acquired by Rdio in 2014.

After Dhingana was sold to Rdio, the Shinde twins created Mezi in 2015 as a personal shopping chatbot. They offered different shopping items, flight, hotel and restaurant reservations. However, the traveling category became more popular and turned out to be a total hit. In November 2016, Mezi focused its attention towards traveling only, offering flight, hotel and restaurant recommendations and bookings.

Phil Norman, American Express Digital Labs Vice President, said in a press statement:

“Mezi’s AI-powered experience opens up exciting new ways for us to connect with and serve our Card Members and creates opportunities for us to build more meaningful relationships with them.”

“With messaging emerging as channel of choice for many, and the demand for unique experiences increasing, we believe the combination of Mezi’s capabilities with our global network of expert travel counselors creates a differentiated, high-touch service experience for our Card Members.”

The acquisition follows Mezi’s July 2016 investment round that was led by American Express Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the company. Mezi raised $11.8 million in the round including a $9 million Series A.

“American Express has always been synonymous with superior service and we couldn’t be more thrilled to join the company,” said Swapnil Shinde.

Mezi will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Express and will continue working and improving its technologies and concierge services.

“We’ve built Mezi to become better with each and every interaction and based on the success of our pilot with American Express, we are excited to bring Mezi’s mobile capabilities to more Card Members,” said Snehal Shinde.

Both the co-founders and executives of Mezi, Snehal Shinde and Swapnil Shinde will continue leading the company and will report under Norman.

“I’m excited to welcome Mezi’s talented team to American Express. Together, we will continue to innovate mobile travel and concierge experiences for our customers,” said Norman.

Also Read: American Express, Santander Team Up with Ripple(XRP)

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