Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
Tushaar Bhatt, Convaise: Convaise is a software startup that has set itself the goal of making the communication between organizations in regulated markets and their users as intuitive and efficient as possible. Within the last ten years, our communication has shifted from emails, phone calls and text messages to messenger services like WhatsApp, Zoom and Slack. But the majority of this progress has still not found its way into how we communicate with companies and administrative bodies, as this is where forms, phone calls, faxes and email still dominate. We have made it our mission to change that and to create the most intuitive and effective method of interaction with organizations by helping administrative bodies and companies transform their analog, complex and inefficient interaction with customers and citizens into intuitive, effective and chat-based customer experiences. To that end, we created our no-code conversational agent builder “Convaise Studio”, which our customers can use to design and develop their customer experiences.
Our founding team, which includes Jakob, Stefan and me, met while studying business informatics at the Technical University of Munich. During the international innovation competition Microsoft Imagine Cup, we developed an assistant that helps socially disadvantaged groups easily communicate with public organizations and institutions, such as insurance companies or banks. What we quickly understood, however, was that it’s more effective for administrative bodies, insurance companies and banks to have a solution that puts them in a position to develop their own assistants in order to simplify interactions – the initial concept behind “Convaise Studio.” We all have an academic and industrial background in the design and development of software and AI solutions in the automotive, energy and insurance industries and went through various entrepreneurship programs such as Xpreneurs, Manage & More and InsurTech Hub Munich.
Public administration can save up to 6 billion euros a year
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Tushaar Bhatt: Think about the last time you notified the authorities about a change in address or booked supplementary insurance with your insurance company. You probably had to write several emails, wait on hold on the phone or fill out tons of complex forms. This kind of interaction is not only extremely complex for us as customers or citizens, but also extremely inefficient for the organizations themselves, because it leads to stressed employees and, due to the many manual, error-prone steps, to high process costs and inaccurate data. As a result, business potential in the billions is wasted. Just digitizing the 35 most important services for citizens in Germany would save taxpayers 6 billion euros a year. Imagine it would be just as easy to register your car as it is to arrange meeting up with friends on WhatsApp – that’s what we’re doing!
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Tushaar Bhatt: Our solution focuses on helping our customers transform complex, high-quality customer interactions. With our no-code approach, our customers can quickly execute that transformation all on their own. By using our integration options as well as existing communication artefacts for our NLP models, it’s possible to realize these kinds of customer interactions much faster and more simply than with similar solutions. Moreover, our solution is optimized to suit the relevant legal conditions, such as the Online Access Act in the public sector.
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Tushaar Bhatt: We keep noticing how difficult it is to identify all of the relevant contacts in large administrative bodies who are in charge of issues involving digitization and services for citizens. This isn’t a trivial matter, because we would like to get administrative bodies, the political realm and IT-stakeholders involved as early on as possible in order to develop the best solutions for citizens and for administrative bodies. The situation is similar in large companies and with their stakeholders. Our second challenge came at the beginning of the corona pandemic. We quickly decided to develop corona-specific solutions, which meant we faced the challenge of developing and making productive use of these solutions within a very short period of time. We managed to do just that and were in a position to support public institutions, such as health departments, by providing automatic communication with suspected cases and with people in quarantine. At the same time, the entire team was working from home and we shifted 100 percent of our collaboration to remote work. That was a big change in the beginning, but after we figured out which tools and methods worked for us, we adjusted to it very well.
Convaise: “A lot of what we do would not be possible without the ecosystem in Munich”
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Tushaar Bhatt: At the beginning of the pandemic, we noticed that general uncertainty led potential customers in all sectors to put off making decisions. But that changed relatively quickly and we noticed a fundamental shift that led to serious momentum towards digitization in all of our industries. That is obviously beneficial for us, because it’s exactly that momentum that we can accelerate with our solution by helping our partners and customers make their interactions with citizens and customers simpler and digital.
We’ve already onboarded administrative bodies in the public sector with more than two million residents on our platforms and have made more than 100,000 interactions possible through our platform and its corresponding assistants. Our corporate customers are predominantly insurance and service companies.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Tushaar Bhatt: A lot of what we do would not be possible without the ecosystem in Munich. Being close to the university has made it possible for us to find many talented employees. Moreover, the entrepreneurship programs and startup accelerators here, especially those from UnternehmerTUM, such as Xpreneurs or Manage & More, InsurTech Hub Munich and Werk1, have offered serious assistance and support during different stages of our company. Much of what we learned from them we still use on a daily basis. The networks that are affiliated with the programs are extremely valuable and indispensable to us. In addition to business contacts, they’ve also led to many amazing friendships.
Munich Startup: Risk or security?
Tushaar Bhatt: Calculated risk.