It seems like there is a new way for brands to interact with us every day. In the United States, brands have established communication methods available to interact with their customers. However, countries with emerging markets have unique challenges.
Today on UpTech Report, we speak with Javier Mata, CEO of Yalochat. Javier saw an opportunity in these emerging markets, where brands can integrate with existing communication platforms their customers are already using. Yalo uses Whatsapp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger to allow large brands, like Coca Cola, Amazon, and Walmart, to talk to their customers at scale using AI in Latin America, India, and China.
Javier is from Latin America himself. He saw the need in his country and applied it to countries with similar markets. We discuss some of the challenges he has faced when bringing Yalo’s A.I. and CRM solutions to newer markets and his exciting growth plans.
To learn more about Yalo, visit yalochat.com
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Alexander Ferguson 0:00
It seems like there’s a new way for brands to interact with us every day. In the United States brands have established communication methods available to interact with their customers. However, countries with emerging markets have unique challenges. In this episode of UpTech Report, we speak with Javier Mata, CEO of yellow chat. Have you ever saw an opportunity in these emerging markets where brands can integrate with existing communication platforms, their customers are already using yellow uses WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger to allow large brands like Coca Cola, Amazon and Walmart to talk to their customers at scale using AI in Latin America, India and China. Javier is from Latin America himself. He saw the need in his country and applied it to countries with similar markets. We discussed some of the challenges he has faced when bringing yellows, AI and CRM solutions to new markets and his exciting growth plans. Your thank you so much for joining us. I’m excited to hear more about yellow chaton. And kind of how it started, where it’s going and the way you are constantly innovating. To start us off. What year did you start your company?
Javier Mata 1:10
We started the end of 20 2015, beginning of 2016.
Alexander Ferguson 1:18
What industry do you primarily focus on and serve.
Javier Mata 1:23
So we serve primarily four industries, which is consumer packaged goods, retail, financial services, and travel and hospitality. And if I couldn’t get them arise all of them in one is large enterprises that usually interact with a lot of people, and are in the need of making those connections more personable and more intelligent.
Alexander Ferguson 1:51
Now, where are you joining us today from? Where’s your headquarters based out of? Right, right. So we
Javier Mata 1:57
have offices in many different places. Today, you find me in our Mexico City office,
Alexander Ferguson 2:02
where you travel all the time.
Javier Mata 2:05
But we’re all always struggling. Yes. Next week, I’m going to be in India. So Wow.
Alexander Ferguson 2:11
How big is your team right now?
Javier Mata 2:13
Ah, we have grows more than Well, we started the year and it has grown more than four four times. Yeah. The last couple of months.
Alexander Ferguson 2:27
Just just a little bit. Just last couple of months for Yes. Yes. Holy moly. All right. So you’ve identified four markets, that you’re focused on these industries? What’s the pain point that you are solving with your solution?
Javier Mata 2:42
Yeah. So for large organizations, for for large enterprises that need that serve millions of people, it is very difficult to make the service that they’re offering or the products that they’re offering personalized and to make those connections more meaningful. But that is the expectation that nowadays the customer has, is no longer about customers. And drizzling is about being relationship centered, which is going a step beyond and saying not only that works for you, and it’s build thinking about you, we also understand your lights your wants, and and were able to communicate in a personalized way with you. That is an expectation that the customers nowadays have, but larger organizations have trouble providing those type of services and those types of recommendations. So and that is primarily because of systems until now they have old legacy, well, they still have old legacy systems that kind of force the customer to connect with them in their ways, and not necessarily in the ways of the customer. So what we did is channels like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger where customers are spending 84% of their time they’re on the phone, where connecting those systems with these channels where people already are and providing a layer of artificial intelligence to make those interactions smarter and more personalized.
Alexander Ferguson 4:26
So you’re able to help these enterprises meet their customer where they are Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and have those communications and make more sales right where they already
Javier Mata 4:38
are. That is correct.
Alexander Ferguson 4:41
Wow. So AI is a component of this, of this ability to have interactions communication. That sounds conversational and realistic. Tell me a bit more about your IP and the technology behind that.
Javier Mata 4:56
Yes. So we are a large part of what makes this work is always start with focusing on the customer and understanding their needs. So since the beginning, we been thinking more along the lines of okay, what do companies need in order to run on top of messaging platforms and create these connections with their customers? And not necessarily, here’s the API that we created, let’s see where we put it. And what that has allowed us to, to build throughout time is different components that overall make the experience good. And I would say it’s three fundamental components. One is the AI brain that allows you to well, at the end is pattern recognition. So it allows you to personalize those connections. The other part is a CRM, which maintains that they have the context and the information on the customer so that you can personalize. So it’s not only the AI, or the AI combined with who you are in that way. And the third one is very robust integration system that allows us to connect with the back end of the customers, because you might be able to know that you you, you typically travel to Japan, and that is the place that you enjoy the most for your locations, we might even know what type of food you want and what type of experiences you enjoy, we’re able to craft the conversation so that it is more geared towards you in terms of AI. But if we don’t have an integration with the backend of the airline to be able to give you the flight that you need, it is not going to work. So So I would say that the combination of those three is what makes this functional, what makes this meaningful.
Alexander Ferguson 7:01
So the AI using some sort of natural language processing and understanding, understands context and ability to communicate out and to the customer, your CRM, keeping and storing all the database of the customer, what they like and their wants, their desires. And this integration is this really then to your enterprise customers, the ability to integrate with their platform so that their your their customers can talk back and forth. There’s integrations with other platforms as well.
Javier Mata 7:28
It’s both in a on the, let’s say, first stage is integration with their own system so that the job can get done. And then it becomes about expansion. Because now that you have this conversation going on, you’re able to personalize that you’re able to serve as the customer, there might already be wanting some other services that you’re able to connect. So and that is possible. And I think a big advantage of having a conversational interface versus, let’s say, an application is that for every change, that you may give the functionality in an application, you need to develop a new front end. Whereas in a conversation for every change that you make, you just basically need to handle these new API, but it is wasting more simple. You don’t need to deal with front ends.
Alexander Ferguson 8:26
Got it? So big win there. How many customers do you have right now?
Javier Mata 8:32
We have grown very quickly over the last. Yes, same over the last year. I would say that until q3 q4 of last year, we were more focused on few customers and just getting the product right. And we bought that on q4. So now the mat has grown tremendously. Where overrating across Latin America, India, Southeast Asia, with many, many brands such as Amazon. Yeah, Coca Cola, we’re talking about large, large brands that are running now, on top of on top of our platform.
Alexander Ferguson 9:24
Would you say the fact that you’re you’re heavily focused in Latin America and India, and these are the places that they use whatsapp and wechat and it want to interact much more than the United States and the ability for them to make sales or conversations on there. Is that are they more advanced? Then would you say the US or other places or what what’s your thoughts on that perspective?
Javier Mata 9:54
Yes, I’m glad you’re asking that question. Yes, I Think as technology evolves, you generate certain infrastructure and certain ways of operating. So when we look at the US and Europe, even Japan, there are already established ways that are somewhat efficient, might not be the most efficient, but are somewhat efficient and get the job done. So it’s very fragmented. When you think about the humans, you have messenger, you have iMessage, you have email, you have the applications, you have the website, you have the goal centers, and all of them kind of work. And when that happens, when you’re trying to bring something that does work, like we’re better, you’re fighting for the attention of all the customers and some preconceived notions. Not in America, emerging markets in general proposes some sort of tabula rasa, like starting from scratching in that sense, where there aren’t that many developed channels to communicate with companies. So the moment you open the messaging app, where your intern interacting with all your friends all the time, and now say, hey, now you can communicate with companies here, it’s yes, it is a no brainer for the company. And it’s a no brainer for the user, which we believe is more important than private company might believe something but at the end of the day, they use or is, is the one who dictates what is going to happen.
Alexander Ferguson 11:39
So you’re opening a channel effectively for enterprise companies to reach their customer in these emerging countries, and where they already are, versus the US or Europe or Japan, as you’re saying, established, there’s tons of established ways that enterprise companies can already reach the customer. So it’s only a little bit better. For
Javier Mata 12:00
emerging, it might be 50%. Better, right? But when you compare that to 10, or 20x, better, that is sufficient to completely shift the market. And it’s something that if we go to China, we see right, we see a lot of people engaging with companies over which and the same effect happen.
Alexander Ferguson 12:27
For enterprises, your focus at the moment, would you expand to beyond enterprise as well? Do you have thoughts or ideas or plans for that?
Javier Mata 12:37
We’re fully focused on Enterprises for now. Because we see that those are the companies that are facing the the biggest need, because you’re talking about changing expectations from customers losing market share from smaller imbler players that are able to personalize that because they haven’t reached the scale that they have. So you have all these new programs taking away market share from this big players. And this is their way of maintaining that relevance and and at the end, providing a better service and better products.
Alexander Ferguson 13:22
What’s a hurdle a problem that you faced the last year or two that you’ve had to overcome, that maybe other entrepreneurs, or those who are thinking of running their own business that they could learn from?
Javier Mata 13:33
Yes, I everyday, everyday day, many times a day. So I just think it’s it’s part of the intrapreneurial life. And one of the key things is just understanding that is part of that. And, and knowing that, okay, you need to face the problem, and you need to work with it. So so that is part of, I would say more general philosophy. And if we go on to something more specific, I think the biggest hurdle for every leader at every growing company is your own psychology, and what you believe is possible and what you believe is achievable. And understanding that there are many things that you don’t know that you don’t. So I think having the confidence in your vision to execute but at the same time being able to question and to build a team around you that is experienced and is able to bridge those gaps definitely allows you to fast forward in the in the growth and we’ve seen that, you know, in sales, I hadn’t done enterprise sales before. Right. So that that experience you was about assembling a team learning talking to people that have done it before. And then you started seeing contracts changing in terms in science in the bracket mess of closing all those things. So again, it’s about taking that approach. As you go along and face different problems.
Alexander Ferguson 15:24
I’m glad that you highlight that that specific example, because I wasn’t going to ask, what was harder to create your, your AI and CRM solution or selling to enterprise, like being able to go into that like, was the harder solution. But it sounds like the people is really the solution of who you hired to help accomplish those. solve the problems?
Javier Mata 15:44
Definitely. And I mean, I think there’s no one size fits all, like each company has its own problems, and depending on the stage, the industry when you’re going after, there are different solutions. But yes, in our in our particular case, I mean, all all of us out there got not all of us now, but at the beginning, all of us came from consumer, our reviews, companies were all about consumer. So we didn’t know about enterprise. And I think that was a blessing. Because we created a product that was more, you know, thoughtful in how to serve the enterprise. And okay, the experience needs to be good. That’s just a basic principle when you’re creating consumer products and not enterprise products. So that approach in the product in the technology that we build is what provided us with a very solid technology stack. And then we were able to complement that with experienced salespeople on the on the enterprise side that now we haven’t combined the approach, which is okay, it’s probably growth combined with enterprise sales, and any works really well.
Alexander Ferguson 17:05
Where do you where do you see your company in five years from now?
Javier Mata 17:11
Five years from now? Yes, I think that as where things are changing nowadays, it’s really hard to prevent so probably gonna be, you know, are utterly wrong to say like, exactly, this is how it’s gonna look like because everything is changing. And just in terms of our product, to give you an idea, we have evolved it three times busier. And it’s still serving, right? But we we were constantly challenging and changing. So what is it that we’re trying to do? Here? Let me talk to you about that, we see that that company is engaged with millions of users all the time. And right now, because of a lack of a proper system because of a lack of intelligence, from the system’s perspective. Those experiences are not great. And you probably have experienced that many times. So what we want to do, and our goal for the next five years, is to be helping more than a billion people on a monthly basis. How about delightful experiences with the companies that that we provide software to, and that is, you know, our goal and what we’re working on and what we’re counting every day, and moving in that direction,
Alexander Ferguson 18:35
more than a billion users on a monthly basis.
Javier Mata 18:39
Yeah, that they owe more than a billion people on a monthly basis. Because we see that during, you know, customers that might be dissatisfied right now into raving fans of the company that you say, Wow, I, I’m really happy to be interacting with this company. It’s our way of of contributing in this space,
Alexander Ferguson 19:05
to realize this vision of more than a billion people that you’re able to serve. What hurdles Do you see that you’re going to need to overcome to accomplish that?
Javier Mata 19:19
Yeah, I think the biggest one is here, right? It’s always about the psychology and what do you believe is possible? So so that you know it’s a constant work on that aspect? And I think for for every intrapreneurs that, because at the end of the day, the technology to do it is there the method of doing it is there so all those things we got? Were continuously figuring out but what we know how to get there at the end of the day is it’s a very simple recipe is you know, providing a delightful experience and measuring on a constant basis and improve being done and being customer obsessed in two dimensions, or I would say in three dimensions. The first dimension is we see each other inside of the company as customers, those are the first ones that we need to bring hospitality and good experiences to. Because we’re creating the software, we’re creating the experiences, and it becomes a reflection of the people inside of the organization. The second one is our customers, let’s say our paying customers, they enterprises. So I invite you to them on a consistent basis. And we’re proud that we get to make the champions inside the organization really champions, and whenever they implement our technology is like, Okay, now your area is that Rockstar. And that makes us very happy. And I would say the third one is the users, the end users, because at the end of the day, a company might buy your product, you might have a really good sales team that is able to sell the product. But if then user is not having a great experience, it is not going to work long term. So we obsess a lot about what is going on at the end of that value chain. And that’s what what we’re constantly measuring and saying, Alright, the person got the job done, the person is happy with the experience the person who’s coming back. And we’ve been seeing that this becomes more of a user experience as a service type of thing.
Alexander Ferguson 21:37
As you mentioned earlier that trying to imagine five years from now, it’s hard because things are changing so much even just this this year alone, innovating. How are you personally? Try staying on top and innovating? Where do you look for your news and new thoughts and ideas?
Javier Mata 21:55
Everywhere, I think the most random places. So I think it’s easy to fall into tech, you know, that you just normal and you’re hearing what everyone is thinking at the same time. So I think it’s important, I think Twitter is a good way of just staying involved in that conversation and what is going on there. But then the other aspect is, I think more and more, the world is getting a bit more disconnected and people are looking for more connections. And that might not be found in sighted technology bubble. So going into very opposite directions in that, in that sense. And talking to people that have nothing to do with technology oftentimes creates the best ideas because you’re talking, for example, to a Buddhist monk, and they’re telling you about the concept of being and the way you perceive yourself and the stories that you create. And then you’re like, Well, how does that relate to a neural network that we could kind of emulate that part? And how can we make the connections that we’re doing with people through our service, more personal in one sense, but then understanding also the limitations of technology, and even incentivizing people to get out, you know, leave your phone, like connect with the people that are around you, you’re traveling. And if you start thinking along those lines, I think it’s something that resounds more with where the world is going and what people are looking for. So it’s it’s kind of like having those, okay, heavy back and geek out, and then go completely the other side and, and finder and somewhere in the middle, you’ll you’ll start combining those ideas and, and that’s how i i tend to stay on top, Joseph Joseph now. I mean, we have a Buddhist Professor like talking here at the office in Mexico. About like psychology and philosophy and all of this that generates very interesting dialogues, that then lead to new ideas.
Alexander Ferguson 24:30
You blow my mind, just from both sides. I love how you go all the way, you know, tech side. Sure. Look on Twitter. That’s a great tip and seeing what people are saying but completely the opposite. People have nothing to do with technology, how are they connecting with others and applying it? Last question.
Javier Mata 24:44
You know, in that sense, like sometimes I think India Mexico like just going and disconnecting for 1015 days, you know, being with people And you realize how even in terms of building a team, sometimes this is the missing element, you’re saying, Okay, we’re going after this goal where and and the moment you bring this humanity back into, like the workplace, people are a lot more engaged in this, right? Because that means like, we’re all in this working together, and we recognize each other humanity. And he’s just not just like, okay, okay, I don’t even know what I’m doing or why I’m here, but I’m doing it. We’re all racing towards it. And it leads to overall better results.
Alexander Ferguson 25:39
For this last question, are there any books, audio books, podcasts that you like to listen to? are listening to or reading right now?
Javier Mata 25:48
Oh, see? That I would recommend? Yes. Yes, there are different ones. So I think from the AI perspective, for warehousing read it, but life 3.0 Um, it’s very, very good. Um, and it just, it kind of like, go all into AI and all the possibilities. It gets crazy towards the end. But it’s a good geeking out on what AI could potentially become. And then, the other one is more along other lines, there’s a book called impro. That it’s about improvisation and the theater. So it’s written by Yeah, played writer, very interesting, like nothing to do with, with technology, but at the same time is how they’re able to create environments where people are constantly improvising and coming up with new ideas. That applies very much into what we do every day. And it goes down to how you’re able to play with different emotions, interactions, and elicit just by the questions or the environment, new creative ideas, and it’s completely a different field. But it’s interesting that it applies.
Alexander Ferguson 27:24
I’d never thought of improv the skills of improv being used for business and marketing and ideas around that. That’s brilliant. Not to look at that. Yes,
Javier Mata 27:33
very much recommended. It’s a fun, fun book to read. And when you’re done reading it, yes, you’ll start behaving in a different way because they get very deep into human interaction.
Alexander Ferguson 27:51
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