Concierge Startups Tap Cognitive Technology
Two personal assistant startups working with $10M Series A funding use IBM Watson to understand human language queries.

Even concierge apps need a little help themselves to get their jobs completed.

Some are turning to artificial intelligence, a sensible solution given that significant VC funding is moving away from social media and towards businesses that utilize cognitive technology. Magic+ and Operator, personal assistant and personal shopper messenger services, use IBM Watson as an integral part of their stack.

Magic+, which received $12.5M of Series A funding in 2015 from Sequoia Capital, is an on-demand, scalable high-end personal concierge that claims to be capable of handling any task, regardless of size or scope. Users can send text messages that will help users with tasks such as arranging mutual meeting times and finding personal trainers. You can even order helicopter transport.

Requests are fulfilled through a combination of humans working as executive assistants paired with intelligent software. According to Magic, their “unique combination of humans and software is what enables us to consistently deliver an unparalleled level of service.”

Operator, set up by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, specializes in personal shopping. You can request items by text message in very specific detail from around the world. Among other things, it keeps records of your preferences. Operator was most recently funded by three investors in a $10 million Series A round.

The same machine learning and natural language processing technology that powers these startups via IBM Watson is available by signing up to IBM’s Global Entrepreneurship Program.

Through the Global Entrepreneurship Program, up to $120K of credits are available to spend on access to IBM services that these startups use, as well as go-to-market support, technical expertise, and business mentorship.

Here’s how to apply.