Facebook acquires Servicefriend to support Calibra customer service

23 Sep 2019

Facebook's corporate headquarters. Image: wolterke/Depositphotos

Facebook has previously worked with Servicefriend to provide chatbots for companies on WhatsApp and Messenger.

On 19 September, Israeli business newspaper TheMarker reported that Facebook is acquiring chatbot start-up Servicefriend, which will be used to build a messaging bot to provide customer service to Facebook Calibra users.

Servicefriend, which was founded in Israel in 2015, directed media inquiries relating to the reported acquisition to Facebook. TechCrunch reached out to Facebook and a spokesperson the company responded: “We acquire smaller tech companies from time to time. We don’t always discuss our plans.”

While Facebook is remaining quiet about any deal, Servicefriend co-founders Ido Arad and Shahar Ben Ami, along with at least one other employee working at the company, have updated their LinkedIn profiles to say that they work at Facebook’s Calibra digital wallet group.

As TechCrunch pointed out, the co-founders updated their profiles to say that they work on the Calibra team this month, which would suggest that the acquisition has closed.

‘Next chapter’

At present, the homepage of Servicefriend’s website says: “We are thrilled to share that Servicefriend is now moving to the next chapter of our exciting journey.

“Over the past four years, we managed to standout [sic] and build a great platform for brands to deliver excellent experiences at scale over WhatsApp and Messenger. Our mission to transform the way businesses interact with people and to let people communicate with businesses as they do with their friends has always been our raison d’etre.”

In past partnerships with Facebook, Servicefriend built “hybrid” bots for the social media giant, which companies could use in tandem with human customer service teams.

In 2017, Servicefriend reported that its platform enabled customer service teams to automate 40pc of incoming messages and prioritise the remainder for proper handling at rapid speeds.

Facebook’s corporate headquarters. Image: wolterke/Depositphotos

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic