Passion for applied technology creates start-up

When he was a student, Le Anh Tien had a passion for scientific applications. He tried to create products in various fields, from economics and the environment to education.

Passion for applied technology creates start-up
Le Anh Tien, CEO of Chatbot Vietnam Technology Joint Stock Company, with co-founder Hoang Minh Phu, at an online meeting. — Photo courtesy of Le Anh Tien

He became a software developer after graduating from high school. He won awards at amateur competitions in Da Nang and creative contests for teenagers nationwide.

During his four years studying at the Da Nang University of Science and Technology, Tien spent most of his time in the lab. Of his 20 research projects, the most notable was his MultiGlass product – a smart device that enables people with disabilities to use computers with the movement of their eyes and head. With these glasses, it is easier for them to access information online as well as look for jobs.

The product won him a prize at the Vietnamese Talent Awards 2016, an annual event held to honour talents in the fields of IT, applied science, medicine and the environment.

That initial success encouraged him to team up with other friends to create bot bán hàng – a chatbot platform for sellers and advertisers.

“At first, we decided to set up a chatbot to facilitate the management of a coffee shop we operated in a co-working space,” Tien said.

“After three months, we saw our costs reduce by 40 per cent while efficiency improved at the same time. Then we decided to expand the product.”

Tien and his colleagues set up Chatbot Vietnam Technology Joint Stock Company in 2017.

Chatbot has been used around the world for many years and is widely applied in e-commerce, insurance, healthcare, retail and hospitality.

Developing chatbot technology became a common trend for start-ups in Vietnam and globally in 2017 along with blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.

What makes bot bán hàng stand out is that it allows customers to find information, make orders and pay directly on Messenger without having to switch to another interface, said Tien, who is now CEO of the company.

The platform also carries out gamification which incorporates fun and an element of competition to marketing strategy to help businesses attract more customers. The strategy can attract tens of thousands of users within a few hours with conversion rates of 30 per cent.

Hoang Minh Phu, a co-founder of bot bán hàng, said the operation of the platform facilitates interaction between sellers and customers, making online shopping easier.

“Changing shopping habits through a convenient channel can be considered the biggest contribution bot bán hàng offers the community,” he said.

With three founding members graduating from the Da Nang University of Science and Technology, Tien said it gave the company a solid technical foundation. However, it was not an easy path for him and his co-workers.

At the beginning, the founding members had to multi-task, from developing the platform, marketing, sales and customer care.

“I only slept about 3-4 hours a day and I was working part-time for another company to earn money to run the project,” Tien said.

The first problem the company faced was how to persuade customers to use their product.

To convince customers in the early days, they decided to offer a free service for nine months, Tien said.

“After that period, most customers chose to buy the product and more and more people became interested in it.”

According to Tien, the most difficult period the company had faced over the past two years was when Facebook data was exposed online.

Like other applications operating on Facebook, chatbot was deactivated.

Determined not to depend on another platform, the company’s staff tried to set up a “data driven” platform. At the end of 2018, bot bán hàng officially split from Facebook.

Sharing his experience, Phu said a start-up always faced certain difficulties in its development stages.

 

To complete a new product, the staff had to approach customers, exchange and listen to users' comments, and then make suitable changes, he said.

“This is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process as the majority of online sellers were still not accustomed to applying technology in their businesses,” he said, adding that some customers didn't trust the product but even objected to the adoption of new technology.

But his efforts have been paid off.

Bot bán hàng is now used by many agencies and businesses, such as the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam Television Corporation, Vinmart, VnPay, VinID, Grab and Viettelpost.

More than 15,000 firms have installed the platform with over 10 million users from five countries and territories including Vietnam, Taiwan, the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

With customer growth of over 5,000 per cent and strong potential, the company has successfully raised US$500,000 in funding from NextTech Group.

Nguyen Hoa Binh, Next Tech’s CEO, said the reason why they had poured capital into the firm was that it had a positive impact on society.

He said the chatbot had the ability to deliver 24/7 automated customer support, thereby not only increasing customer engagement but also saving costs for businesses.

Tien said the investment would help connect the company with the group’s regional e-commerce ecosystem, contributing to speeding up the globalisation process of bot bán hàng.

Given the complex developments of COVID-19, Tien has completed a chatbot about the pandemic to make it easier for netizens to stay updated on the situation.

“On Lunar New Year Eve, I spent six hours setting up the chatbot. The launch of the chatbot helped people share information more quickly, and easily access the latest data from around the world,” he said.

The company is also offering 50 discounts for all of its products to help Vietnamese businesses overcome the hardships caused by the pandemic.

Having used bot bán hàng over the past three months, Vo Van Phuong, 36, the owner of a milk tea shop in Hue, said he was satisfied with the product.

“I used to hold promotions like selling tea for only VND19,000 (0.8 US cents) or putting on live music, but they were not effective in terms of marketing.”

He decided to apply chatbot to attract Facebook visitors.

Phuong was surprised by the results after launching a game developed by bot bán hàng last month.

“It was really impressive. The number of customers is up to 300 per day, an increase of 50 compared with normal days, while revenue has gone up 25 per cent compared with previous months.”

According to Phuong, the benefit of chatbot was that it helped save marketing costs and time while creating a professional fanpage. It had also improved the shop’s brand perception.

Using customer data, we can send messages when the shop is running promotions.

For Tien, his dream has not yet been fulfilled.

“We will continue to improve our technology to turn bot bán hàng into a super platform and useful sales tool to meet the rising demand for online sales and turning Chatbot Vietnam into one of the country's leading technology firms,” he said.  VNS

Mai Hien

NextTech and Next100 invest $500,000 in Chatbot Vietnam

NextTech and Next100 invest $500,000 in Chatbot Vietnam

NextTech Group on Monday announced it will invest US$500,000 into Chatbot Viet Nam Technology Joint Stock Company, which runs Bot Ban Hang – a chatbot platform for sellers and advertisers in Vietnam.  

Vietnam makes big leaps in AI development

Vietnam makes big leaps in AI development

Vietnamese technology firms have gained great achievements in AI among the presence of technology giants, especially in the last 1-2 years.

 
 

Other News

.
VN government decree to sweep away spam calls
VN government decree to sweep away spam calls
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/08/2020 

Businesses in the fields of real estate, insurance and education will bear the biggest influences from the newly released decree on preventing spam messages and calls.

Flood season coming late, drought may hit Mekong Delta again next year
Flood season coming late, drought may hit Mekong Delta again next year
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  21/08/2020 

This year’s flood season in the Mekong Delta is likely to arrive late and if there is insufficient rain in the months to come, drought and saltwater intrusion may plague the region again during the next dry season, experts have warned.

Bluezone Covid-19 tracking app downloaded 20 million times
Bluezone Covid-19 tracking app downloaded 20 million times
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  21/08/2020 

Bluezone, a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come in contact with a COVID-19 patient, has tracked 1,391 cases of people having close contact with an infected or suspected Covid-19 infection.

Hanoi river water remains polluted
Hanoi river water remains polluted
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/08/2020 

The quality of surface water in many lakes and rivers in the north has improved, but 15 monitoring areas of 185 that have been monitored remain heavily polluted, mainly on the Cau and Nhue-Day rivers.

Air quality improving in northern region
Air quality improving in northern region
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/08/2020 

Air quality in the north of the country is improving, according to the Vietnam Environment Administration.

“Make in Vietnam” Awards to honor VN digital technology solutions
“Make in Vietnam” Awards to honor VN digital technology solutions
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/08/2020 

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on August 19 launched the “Make in Vietnam” Awards. 

Dialogue looks at Vietnam - EU maritime economic cooperation
Dialogue looks at Vietnam - EU maritime economic cooperation
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/08/2020 

A dialogue with the theme “Sustainable Maritime Development: Sharing Vietnam and EU’s Perspectives” took place in Hanoi on August 19 with over 150 in attendance.

Information and Communications Ministry sets eight key programs for the new period
Information and Communications Ministry sets eight key programs for the new period
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  19/08/2020 

“The ICT industry can create a pair of wings for the country to fly. One wing is digital technology and the other is communication," Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said.

HCM City to charge fee for sewerage to reduce flooding
HCM City to charge fee for sewerage to reduce flooding
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  21/08/2020 

HCM City Department of Construction has proposed to collect fees on discharged water in an effort to deal with the severe flooding problem in the area.

Western sea dyke needs urgent protection
Western sea dyke needs urgent protection
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  19/08/2020 

Many sections of the western sea dyke in Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces in the Mekong Delta have seriously eroded and could collapse at any time if prompt protective measures are not taken.

High-tech trash bins wow Hanoians
High-tech trash bins wow Hanoians
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  22/08/2020 

If they were to ever think about trash, most people would picture a load of waste thrown. New style trash bins, developed from human creativity, can also be used for storage and contribute to beautifying city streets.

Vietnam takes the lead in ASEAN’s digital evolution
Vietnam takes the lead in ASEAN’s digital evolution
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  19/08/2020 

With its great potential in IT, Vietnam as ASEAN chair has been making efforts together with other member states in boosting the application of high technologies to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is sweeping regionwide.

Time to ensure security of water sources, safety of dams and lakes: experts
Time to ensure security of water sources, safety of dams and lakes: experts
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  20/08/2020 

Vietnam has recorded outstanding socio-economic development and has been lauded for it by the international community, but along with progress, the country is facing challenges with water management and security, an official has said.

Food donated to save zoo animals in HCM City
Food donated to save zoo animals in HCM City
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  18/08/2020 

Saigon Zoo has received tonnes of fruits and vegetables from donors across the country to feed the zoo animals after a recent plea from the managers.

Vietnam aims to be among top 30 countries for Global Cybersecurity Index
Vietnam aims to be among top 30 countries for Global Cybersecurity Index
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  17/08/2020 

By 2030 Vietnam will be listed as one of the top 30 countries for the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Global Cybersecurity Index, targeted the national digital transformation program. 

Ben Tre province repairs eroded riverbank section
Ben Tre province repairs eroded riverbank section
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  16/08/2020 

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre is restoring a section along the banks of Ba Lai river that eroded when a temporary dam was removed along the banks.

Bluezone helps saves resources to fight against Covid-19
Bluezone helps saves resources to fight against Covid-19
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  16/08/2020 

If this app is deployed on a large scale enough, Bluezone will help save huge social resources and cost to fight Covid-19 epidemic in Vietnam, as well as help the economy resume operation under the new normal state.

5G network testing licences for Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone extended
5G network testing licences for Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone extended
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  16/08/2020 

The Telecommunications Department said that the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group’s (VNPT) license to test the 5G technology has expired and it has asked for extension. 

Ministry proposes solutions to raise Vietnam’s e-Government rankings
Ministry proposes solutions to raise Vietnam’s e-Government rankings
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  14/08/2020 

In its recent report on the UN’s e-government rankings, the Ministry of Information and Communications has proposed that Prime Minister direct and assign key tasks to ministries, branches and localities to implement a number of solutions

Make-in-Vietnam blockchain platform debuts to assist digital transformation
Make-in-Vietnam blockchain platform debuts to assist digital transformation
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  14/08/2020 

The Ministry of Information and Communications, on August 13, held a ceremony to debut the akaChain blockchain platform, as part of a programme introducing “Make in Vietnam” digital platforms.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN