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Developed by 18-year-old hotshot Aayush Chadha, the AI-based Facebook bot pulls events from TickX's search engine and allows users to buy tickets with one click
By Jon Chapple on 31 May 2017
UK tech start-up TickX – the ticket search engine, or ‘Skyscanner for live events’, which last year turned down £75,000 in funding from BBC’s Dragons’ Den – has taken the wraps off its first Facebook chatbot, which it hopes will revolutionise the ticket-buying process.
Developed by a team led by Aayush Chadha, an 18-year-old student of artificial intelligence at the University of Manchester, the bot plugs directly into TickX’s search engine, allowing users to search for tickets to more than 70,000 events from 35+ sellers without ever leaving the Facebook Messenger app.
“The benefits to users are twofold,” Sam Coley, TickX’s co-founder and CTO, tells IQ. “Firstly, chatbots make it quicker and easier to get answers to complex questions. For example, you can ask TickX, ‘When is the cheapest ticket to see The Lion King in July?’, and one second later have the answer and link to compare and buy tickets. The second benefit is that millions of people spend hours on Facebook Messenger each day, so now they can click straight into TickX in one click – [there are] no apps to download, and no need to open a website.”
TickX is the first event ticketing company to take advantage of conversational commerce on the Facebook Messenger app, which has more than 1.2 billion monthly users.
“You can ask TickX, ‘When is the cheapest ticket to see The Lion King in July’, and one second later have the answer and a link to buy tickets”
The launch of the new bot – which goes live on 1 June – follows the pilot launch of a chatbot for Skype by StubHub last August, although the StubHub app is restricted to its own marketplace (one of many crawled by TickX). Seattle start-up ReplyYes, meanwhile, has made a success of selling merch and vinyl via standard text messages.
Coley says the feedback to the beta version of the bot has been “incredibly positive”, although he reveals the company, which is backed by £925,000 in private-equity funding, is already working on its next innovation.
“This Messenger bot really is just the first step for us in making it easier to search events and compare tickets,” he explains. “Over the next few months, alongside continuing to improve our Facebook application we’ll also be rolling out to voice-based assistances such as Amazon Alexa.”
Watch the chatbot in action below – or try it for yourself at m.me/tickx.uk.
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