SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Joining Facebook Messenger, Kik and Telegram in the bot race, popular group messaging app Blend has launched its own take on chat bots called "Genies," which target only consumers. The first rollout includes variations of Fitbit, Kanye West, ESPN, Instagram and Donald Trump, among others. Legendary Entertainment CEO, Thomas Tull, has also joined Blend as a strategic investor to support the launch.
The company's well-known engineering team will release more than 1,000 Genies over the next 12 months. Each Genie is fully customized, from its design to the tailored content it sends – some Genies leverage APIs while others utilize Blend's proprietary technology. While each Genie is unique in its own way, the focus of all Genies is consistent across the board: deliver relevant content to the right group of people at the right time.
Each Genie has a distinct design and persona to deliver "magical notifications" or curated content pulled from social platforms, the web and diverse data sources. The Genies are powered by Blend's innovative "Viral Throttler," a robust mechanism that detects viral content before it goes viral, ensuring users always receive the very best content. The first set of Genies consists of public figures, news outlets, Blend-branded Genies and third-party applications, such as Fitbit, which aims to gamify the workout experience amongst friends.
"While platforms like Kik and Facebook Messenger are focused on using bots to monetize their platforms, we're focused solely on the consumer with no ulterior motives," said Akash Nigam, CEO of Blend. "Our view is that many of today's bots have intimidating, 'techy' branding and require multiple levels of interaction for infrequent use cases. Blend created a 'mainstream bot' that has a daily value proposition. Every group chat with family, friends or co-workers has a handful of shared interests that serve as frequent conversation topics. Unlike existing bots, Genies will curate content around those key interests and provide relevant topics without making the users even think about it. In essence, Genies are 'conversation concierges.'"
With an emphasis on content and design, each bot will also include Blend's customized multimedia link integration. This link enhancement allows each Genie push notification to come to life, allowing users to view the social, data or media sources directly within the app. Additional Genies for the launch include Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber, Kylie Jenner, Shawn Mendes, Jack Johnson, Jack Gilinsky and Twitter.
"We are providing content to group chats that users care about, with the people they care about, when they care about it. We're amplifying the dynamic of group chats in a beautiful, mindless manner," stated Nigam.
Along with the introduction of Genies, Blend announced that Legendary Entertainment CEO Thomas Tull has signed on as a strategic investor – following his investments in other industry gamechangers, like Oculus and Magic Leap. With an investment of over $2 million into the messaging platform, Tull will advise Blend on all things Genie, including strategy and notable industry partnerships for expansion.
Blend's app is available to download here.
Based in San Francisco, Blend is a group messaging app with an emphasis on content, design and chat bots through "Genies." The app allows groups of friends to chat, share privately and consume relevant content together. The company has 20 employees and has raised over $9M capital from top-tier investors including NEA, CAA, Foundation Capital and Management 360. The app is available on iOS, Android and Mac.
ABOUT TULL INVESTMENT GROUP
Tull Investment Group provides capital for early to mid-stage companies dedicated to changing and enhancing lives. Focused on investments and strategy for businesses across the life science, media and technology sectors, Tull Investment Group has provided early funding to Magic Leap, Pinterest, Zoox and Oculus Rift, the latter which resulted in a lucrative exit to Facebook.
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