Bankbazaar Singapore – February 7, 2018
Singapore: American Express (Amex) has acquired Mezi, an AI-based travel app, in an all-cash deal. While the value of the deal has been kept under wraps, speculations are rife that it could be between $150 million and $200 million.
Mezi, a Sunnydale, California-based startup founded in 2015, combines artificial intelligence (AI) technology with human expertise to offer a customised travel experience. With this acquisition, the global financial major can ensure that its customers get the best deals on tours and have access to almost real-time updates and changes, especially with flight bookings, hotel bookings, and dining.
Experts believe that a better travel experience would also ensure more business for the credit card issuer. It was also announced that Mezi would function as a wholly owned subsidiary of Amex and its co-founders would report directly to the top Amex management.
Mezi combines AI with human skills to tailor suggestions based on usage patterns, past history, and user preferences. It can even adapt to changes in its environment and user inputs and constantly learn important aspects about the user. This helps Mezi to customise its suggestions with higher accuracy with the passage of time.
Through Mezi, users can also make travel and hotel reservations. Users need to send messages to make requests regarding travel bookings or hotel reservations and the app can return real-time results, factoring in any last minute changes that may have happened.
American Express noted that the app gets smarter over time with its understanding of natural language and ability to adequately track the idiosyncrasies of the user.
Phil Norman, VP of American Express Digital Labs, said that the strategic partnership and the American giant’s own network of expert travel counsellors will provide a better service experience to its customers.
The company has informed its stakeholders that it planned to take over Mezi after the success of its AskAmex pilot in which some American Express cardholders were involved.
American Express Ventures, the investment arm of Amex, had made an investment into the startup in 2016 to see how its customers could benefit better from the collaboration.
The company has also said that those already enrolled for the pilot would continue to be a part of it through the first half of 2018.