American Express has acquired Mezi, the AI-based virtual travel assistant, for an undisclosed amount. After the deal closes, Mezi will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Express.
Mezi users send requests for flights, hotels and restaurant reservations through the app’s SMS-like interface. Mezi then makes suggestions and, once it figures out what users want to do, forwards requests to human assistants to finalize bookings. Founded in 2015 as a personal shopping chatbot, Mezi builds its own deep learning and natural language processing systems instead of using services by IBM Watson and other providers.
American Express Digital Labs vice president Phil Norman said “With messaging emerging as the 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.”
According to Crunchbase, Mezi raised a total of $11.8 million, including a $9 million Series A announced in July 2016 that was led by American Express Ventures, the company’s investment arm.