AI-powered chatbot apps

There are many chatbot standalone mobile apps that have also contributed to the rise of SaaS application development services. How effective are they?

“We are experiencing the transformation of well-known messengers like Telegram, Slack, Skype and Facebook Messenger into chatbot applications. Nowadays, these look like smart AI-powered assistants that can help us with many tasks, all within one application”, says venkatkworld. Which chatbot apps will have a positive impact on your business?

5 AI-powered chatbot apps you may have missed in the last 5 years

Here is a list of five AI chatbot apps that have shown great potential in the last five years. Let’s see what they are about!

1. Luka: your new best adviser

The Luka app is a place where humans and bots can meet and talk about things like restaurants, the weather, and recent news.

Luka first launched in 2014 as an AI-powered mobile social concierge service, called IO. At the time, he provided restaurant reviews and recommendations. So, for example, you could ask IO something like “Where is the nearest place where I can try traditional French food?” or “What are your favorite local hangouts?” and get an immediate and friendly response.

IO wouldn’t just give you a one word answer; offered the digital card of a restaurant with the address, telephone number, menu, hours, etc. Also, IO might send you photos of certain dishes when you ask about them.

The great thing about IO was that the app could improve your user experience by asking you for feedback right after visiting a suggested restaurant. Therefore, your preferences or opinions will never be ignored during subsequent sessions.

Later, The creators of IO changed the name of the application to Luka and added several little helpers, which means you’re now in charge of 12 other bots: Foodie (for restaurant recommendations), Weather, Wiki, Video, Gif, Pic, News, Founders, Search, Calculator, Quiz, and QuestHero.

All of these bots are available 24/7, so you can contact them whenever you need information about a new restaurant or just want to know how big the universe is. In addition, it is possible to reserve a table through the OpenTable service directly from the application. Unfortunately, the reserve is only available in the Bay Area so far.

The good thing about these apps is that you don’t have to choose the right words to communicate with them. You can simply type “I’m bored” or “I have a date today”, and Luka will direct you to the bot that can help you.

Luka app is completely free to download and has no annoying ads or in-app purchases. So how can Luka make money? There are two options: since the app provides table reservations, it could charge users a small fee for the service, or it could use sponsored recommendations.

Also, the platform has recently opened its doors to third-party developers, so this may offer another opportunity to earn revenue in the future. However, no precise information is available on the company’s monetization strategy.

As of July 2016, Luka had around 5,000 downloads on the App Store, with a monthly income of less than $5,000 (according to Sensor Tower). However, having recently announced the closing of a $4.42 million Series A funding round, the creators of Luka are more than optimistic about the app’s future.

2. Lark: pocket trainer and nutritionist

As you may know, most modern fitness apps use your mobile device’s internal sensors, and sometimes require additional input, to track your fitness and health.

Lark (for iOS and Android) is similar to many health and fitness apps, but it’s more than just a productivity tracker: Lark is the health app that talks to you, like a live weight loss coach or! a physical trainer!

Lark makes witty comments on how you can improve your lifestyle to become healthier, drawing on a database generated by the world’s leading nutrition and sleep experts.

How does Lark work? As with any other health tracker, Lark relies on your device’s built-in sensors to track your activities and habits. What sets it apart is that you can text or dictate to the chatbot, and it will ask what you recently ate or drank and then give you comprehensive feedback on your eating, drinking, exercise, and sleeping habits.

According to the creators of Lark, there have been more than 300 million text message exchanges between the smart assistant and users since the app’s launch. This load is equivalent to the efforts of 20,403 full-time nurses. So a $19 monthly subscription seems pretty reasonable!

Since the app relies on in-app purchases as its only monetization strategy, it has successfully generated revenue. The numbers speak for themselves: Friendly Finances monthly revenue was around $10,000 in July 2016 and the app was downloaded 9,000 times during that month.

As of December 2021, Lark still has a 4.4 rating on the App Store and is backed by friendly user reviews.

3. Penny: the most educated bank manager of all time

Do you want a detailed report of your income and expenses? penny is free personal finance app who will gladly offer you one. Unfortunately, the app only covers US-based banks at the moment, but Penny told me she’d let me know if this changes in the future.

However, if you have a bank account in the US, you are eligible for the most courteous bank assistant ever!

Even the most boring procedure, linking your bank account to the app, is done conversationally. Once you’ve downloaded and opened the app, Penny will greet you and ask if you’d like to link any of your most used credit or debit cards. After you link your accounts, you can ask about your past spending. For example, you can ask Penny how much she spent on food or medicine last week, or show her graph of income versus expenses for the previous semester.

Penny currently exists as a separate app for iOS and Android, but its creator, Mitchell Lee, says they’ll definitely consider shipping their bot to a chatbot platform like Messenger. However, this will not happen in the foreseeable future, mainly because most existing chatbot platforms are not mature enough to support Penny’s key features: secure password entry and pre-filled responses.

Penny had around 10,000 downloads in July 2016. Then in March 2018 Credit Karma acquired Penny.

4. Digit: A money keeper that doesn’t make you rich but makes you frugal

If you’re having trouble saving money, you might want to check out Digit, an AI-powered app that will save you money.

Warning: Digit won’t make you rich, but it will help you get in the habit of saving!

You don’t have to worry about regularly transferring a dedicated sum of money to a particular account, as Digit will take care of it for you. All you need to do is give the app access to your checking account and it will begin transferring money to your FDIC-protected personal Digit Savings account.

As with all savings accounts, the interest rate is nominal; you’ll earn 0.05% for every dollar that remains untouched for at least three months.

Instead of pestering you with redundant reminders about when and how much to transfer, Digit makes all the decisions for you. It transfers small portions of money (usually around $2-$17) after analyzing many factors, such as your monthly income, current balance, incoming bills, and spending habits. And don’t worry, the app won’t make any transfers if it sees that you’re bankrupt at the time.

On the other hand, Digit will always politely let you know how well you’re doing and how much you already have in your Digit Savings account. Plus, you can mix preset commands with your own custom messages when communicating with Digit. For example, request to withdraw money and Digit will do it instantly.

Digit initially communicated with users through its website and SMS, but now they have a request that handles all financial procedures in one place and allows you to avoid paid SMS messages. Also, it is much safer to communicate with Digit through the app, as all channels are encrypted with SSL.

Then How does Digi make money? if you do not charge any fee? In collaboration with two partner banks, Wells Fargo and BofI Federal Bank, Digit earns money by earning interest on money you save in special accounts Digit has at two of these banks, paying a small portion of the interest (0.05%).

5. Hello Hipmunk: A Reactive Travel Consultant

Hello Hipmunk is not a standalone mobile app, but rather a great extension of an existing hotel and flight booking app called Hipmunk. Hello, Hipmunk is an AI-powered travel planning virtual assistant that focuses on two channels where people often talk about their travel plans: email, covered by Hello Mail, and calendars, covered by Hello Calendar.

You can email [email protected] by emailing your friend, spouse, or family member, or send a separate email directly to the service. For example, you can write something like “Hello! I’m leaving for Chicago next Monday. I hope you are there!” and include a few words like “@hipmunk, I need a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago on September 5th” right in your letter. You must then email [email protected] before sending an email. After analyzing the information you provided, Hello Hipmunk will try to find you the best flight deals for a given date.

A close partnership with Navigators, Hipmunk’s customer service team, has given Hello Mail more insight into the types of questions customers typically ask, allowing the Hipmunk team to teach Hello Mail how to recognize and process different patterns and answer questions in a human way. manner.

Hello Calendar is one more AI project for the company’s flight and accommodation search service. Hello Calendar can predict a user’s upcoming travel needs by analyzing their Google calendars (with permission, of course).

Like Hello Mail, the Hello Calendar service will email you the best deals on hotels, rental cars and flights for the dates you need.

The sad news is that in January 2020, Hello Hipmunk closed. Washington Post called Hipmunk “the site that revolutionized airfare searches.”


As you can see, in the last five years a handful of companies have emerged that build high-quality, reliable products that stand on their own, not as built-in components of other third-party chat services. Not within the confines of one platform, but as a single business.

Although not all of them survived in the highly competitive digital market, as a result, we can now enjoy more mature AI-powered applications with custom designs and rich functionality.

Image credit: Gerd Altman; pixabay; Thanks!

Tobi Ogundele

Tobi Ogundele

online marketing consultant

Tech enthusiast, business strategist. Councilor at Perfect Motivations, Inc.

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