Octane AI boldly bets that Convos are the future of content

One billion people use Facebook Messenger every month. And no matter how bad the current perceptions of the bot scene are, that number is hard to ignore. Octane AIis counting on celebrity content creators to build conversational experiences that people actually want to have. With its public launch and the rollout of its content creation platformConvos, the Octane team is taking a gamble on the medium. If it catches on, the company will have a community-driven head start that will make anyquips about the lack of sophistication in the typicalbottech stack inconsequential.

The Convo platform lets anyone create tree-like stories that otherscan engage with.Building the conversations is as easy ashaving a slightly delusional conversation with yourself the barrier being creativity rather than the underlying mechanics.

Once published, users have the power to makedecisions thatchange narrativeswithin a givenchat. This happens via embedded bubbles, almost like a multiple choice question for each response. The pre-defined structure takes variability out of the experience and removes the need for natural language processing.


There aremultiple categories of bots that willall do well, explained Ben Parr, co-founder of Octane AI.But we dont see anyone doing a great job withcontent.

Octanes private beta began back in November. Through a series of pilots, including one with Maroon 5, the team noticed abnormally high conversionrates. Though Octane wasnt able to provide specifics, the takeaway here is that bots created on the companys platform might be able to drive more traffic with a smaller dedicated following than something like a traditional Facebook Page.

Were not heavy on machine learning yet, but personalization ofConvos could be huge, saidParr.

Parr, who waspreviously Editor-At-Large at Mashable, is joined byLeif K-Brooks, the former founder of OmegleandMatt Schlicht, founder ofChatbots Magazine, to make up the founding team of Octane AI. Schlicht received criticism back in November for failing to disclose Octanes ambitions when soliciting pitch desks from the bot community to pass on to investors. Parr believes that, The bot community has gotten even stronger in the time sinceSchlichts apology.The company raised $1.5 million in a November 2016 seed round led byGeneral Catalyst.


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