It’s raining outside, and you are too lazy to bike to your office, but at the same time, you hate working from home in this depressing weather. Why not go to a lovely, quaint cafe near your home? A vibrant cafe which will welcome you with your laptop and will brew an excellent coffee for you? But, how to find one easily? Well, with Availy, we are sure it’s ridiculously easy.
Founded by Chrystel Credo and Annemarie van Vembde in Amsterdam, Availy is a Facebook Messenger based chatbot which helps you locate flexible workplaces near your location for days when you can’t make it to the office or on busy office days. Currently, the platform is active in Amsterdam and offers free workplaces with neat Wi-fi connection and a good cup of coffee. At present, the Dutch startup has collaborated with more than 100 locations spread across the city right from coffee shops to hotels.
Born out of frustration!
Known to each other as colleagues, Chrystel Credo and Annemarie van Vembde worked as consultants for banks and insurance companies. Availy is a result of the problem that bothers most of the people out here – ‘finding no free desk to work’. With the sole purpose of eliminating this problem through digitalisation, they came up with a solution through chatbot.
Annemarie van Vembde says, “two years ago, we came across a presentation from a company called Flow AI, and it was about creating a chatbot. We thought it was a great solution mainly because people have a lot of apps on their smartphones, but sometimes they are unable to download another app. After that, we actually visited more than 200 locations in Amsterdam to ask if they wanted to join us.”
Focusing on building community!
According to Chrystel Credo, they “initially wanted to develop a community that could start using the platform, which in turn would provide more traction to the location.” At present, Availy just shows the location out there in the city, however, the company is developing a feature that will show a real-time availability, based on what the location is desired. Credo further explains, “consider a lunch cafe, during lunchtime, it is very busy, so they don’t want extra people to sit there with their laptop considering the lack of space. But during the afternoon, there is enough space, and it would be perfect if these cafes would have more clients coming in during that part of the day.”
When asked about funding, Van Vembde says, “We don’t have any investors behind us.” But in the upcoming future, the duo is planning to develop different concepts like Availy and make it real. Van Vembde also added, “The main reasons why we are not working with investors right now is because we think we want to control our ideas and get the experience to do something like this.”
“In the coming year, we are focusing on making this community larger, and getting more feedback to further develop,” notes Credo. In addition, they will be tweaking the business model in the upcoming days to make it best suit the place. On this Van Vembde adds, “Availy right now is focussed on building the community with more users. Once the volume is big enough to generate big businesses, the data regarding the numbers will be shared, which will eventually get Availy a small profit from them.”
Currently, Availy chatbot is available the in Dutch language, but the startup has plans to launch an English version soon. “When we create technology, on should aim to create something that people really want to use,” concludes Van Vembde.
Did you try Availy yet? Let us know in the comments section below, we would be glad to know your opinion about the Facebook Messenger-based chatbot by the Dutch startup.
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