The Branchly founding team
Photo: Branchly

Branchly: Efficient customer communication with AI

Chatbots on company websites that provide quick and helpful answers to questions are a good idea - if they work. With its AI-based solution, the Munich-based startup Branchly wants to help small and medium-sized companies score points with the best possible customer service. The two founders Sebastian Flick and Markus Linnenberg explain exactly how this works in this interview.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem do you solve?

Branchly: We provide small and medium-sized companies with an efficient solution that enables the use of state-of-the-art AI technologies such as semantic instant search and large language models for customer communication. For example, a generative AI chat (based on Branchly AI) can be created and embedded on the website in just four simple steps and in just a few minutes.

Efficient and focused solution instead of expensive data silos

Munich Startup: But that already exists!

Branchly: We offer a completely new approach. Our customers come to us because they no longer want to build expensive data silos or manually maintain content in a confusing platform. We are turning away from costly setups and instead aiming for an efficient and focused solution that uses cutting-edge AI techniques. As one of the first disruptors in the chatbot space, we were able to successfully leverage our experience and customer knowledge from our last company.

Munich Startup: What is your founding story?

Branchly: We got to know each other at a chatbot and AI startup. There, we realized that there were numerous issues for which we saw considerable potential for improvement for customers and users. In particular, the chatbots at the time struggled with acceptance and value-added problems, which led to frustration among users, while at the same time companies had to invest a lot of effort in setup and maintenance. One of our first customers felt the same way, which is why we decided to develop a product for it and bring it to market. This now forms the basis of Branchly. Many of the principles of Branchly are based on our experience from our previous jobs.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Branchly: AI is undergoing an enormous phase of change, not least due to the hype surrounding generative AI. There are many developments every day that we need to keep an eye on. As a solution provider, however, we always have to evaluate what actually offers our customers added value. Continuous dialog with customers and interested parties is also crucial for this. At the same time, there are older companies on the market that are supported by venture capital. We are convinced that we are more agile and faster without the technical and organizational ballast of these legacy companies, which represents a great opportunity for us.

“Using the positive aspects of AI”

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where would you like to be in five years?

Branchly: In one year, we want to have acquired a considerable number of new small and medium-sized companies as customers. On the product side, we plan to focus even more on value-driven functions in order to fully exploit the potential of AI. Although it may seem strange at times, we are still at the beginning in the field of AI. Many companies are experimenting, and the innovative ones are already starting to implement solutions. In view of the great interest in our solutions, we will certainly need to further strengthen our team in terms of personnel.

In five years’ time, we want to be known as an established software company that improves customer experiences and interactions with innovative solutions, regardless of where the customer is located. We are convinced that AI will influence our lifestyles even more than before. Our goal is to harness the positive aspects of AI so that people can concentrate on what is important and focus on the things that really matter.

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Branchly: We have both been active in the Munich startup ecosystem for several years. We believe that Munich and Bavaria as a whole are the ideal location for a software or AI company, as the B2B software ecosystem is best developed here. We are based at Werk1, for example, where the conditions for young companies are excellent. The funding opportunities and the political willingness to take AI seriously are also valuable advantages for founders who are considering where to establish their startup.

Munich Startup: Quick exit or staying power?

Branchly: Our goal is to build a sustainable company. As Branchly is completely self-financed, we certainly follow a different philosophy than VC-financed startups. Nevertheless, you always have to be opportunistic and recognize and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, regardless of what form they take.