As a chatbot startup co-founder myself, I had a blast interviewing Rachel Law from Kip, one of the best chatbots of 2016 according to VentureBeat. I got to know Rachel during her time at StartFast, an accelerator in Syracuse, NY (which is open for applications for summer 2017).
W2: What inspired you to start Kip?
We started Kip because of how difficult it was to manage a small office. I was the primary office manager and handled everything from payroll to buying coffee. It made me realize how frustrating it was to follow up after people and get stuff done.
W2: Tell us who Kip is for and how it works.
Kip is for any office manager or small business entrepreneur who's experiencing the pain of coordinating requests and purchasing for the office team.
It's very easy to use Kip. Just add Kip to your Slack team-- it's like inviting a team member. Kip will collect shopping orders, put them into a cart and send it to you to review and checkout. No logins or signups necessary.
W2: What was the biggest surprise you've encountered in the process of building this startup?
Most people didn't realize how much time they were spending on follow ups and ordering supplies. It takes around 2 hours for an office of 15 people to order lunch.
When we started testing Kip, it was a real surprise how quickly people understood what we did. Taking care of people is a lot of work!
W2: What are some trends you're seeing in the chatbot industry and what excites you the most about the space?
Voice enabled systems are the next big thing. It's very exciting to see how chatbots are moving away being being novelty objects in tech and hitting the mainstream. I think we're definitely going to see more types of chatbots being developed, especially for voice activated systems.
W2: You attended the StartFast accelerator when you were in the early days of launching Kip. What were some of the takeaways you got from your accelerator experience and what advice do you have for other founders who are considering joining an accelerator?
Make sure you chose the right accelerator at the right time for you.
W2: What's next for you and Kip and how can our community of women in tech support you?
We'll be offering more services on Kip. So if you need to buy a plane ticket for a conference or book a meeting room in the city, Kip will be able to do it for you.
We'd love to have more women engineers in our team! My Co-founder and CTO, Alyx Baldwin and I understand how hard it can be to get your foot in the door or advance your career as a woman. We'd love to foster a strong workplace that is welcoming to all types. It would be awesome if more women in the workplace used Kip for their purchasing needs as well. :D
About the Interviewer: Elisa Miller-Out is COO of Women 2.0, Co-Founder of PollQ, a polling bot and Managing Partner at Chloe Capital, an early stage investment fund with a focus on women tech entrepreneurs.