Doodle, an online scheduler and a subsidiary of the Swiss media group Tamedia, has bought Tel Aviv-based startup Meekan, a developer of a chatbot that acts as a virtual scheduling assistant, for an undisclosed amount.
In response to a voice request, Meekan’s bot automatically matches up the schedules of all members of a group chat within seconds and proposes prioritized dates. The Meekan chatbot is adaptive and remembers the earlier preferences and practices of its users to help optimally plan and adjust schedules, Doodle said in a statement posted on Tamedia’s website.
“Unique to this industry,” Meekan is completely driven by artificial intelligence, with no humans involved behind the scenes, Doodle said.
“The integration of Meekan enables Doodle’s next step forward,” Christoph Brand, head of Digital Division at Tamedia, said in the statement. “The chatbot as an intelligent virtual assistant allows fast scheduling without having to consult one’s own calendar. It has definitely enormous potential.”
Meekan, which translates from the Hebrew into “who’s there?” is a five-person team, according to its website. The Israeli company was set up in 2013 by entrepreneurs Lior Yavor, Eyal Yavor and Matty Mariansky and has received funding by the Hong Kong-based venture capital investor Horizons Ventures.
The Meekan scheduler is already in use as a robot assistant in the instant messaging applications of Slack and HipChat, Doodle said.
Doodle’s free online scheduling service is available in 22 languages and is used by over 26 million users monthly around the globe for board or team meetings, dinners with friends or planning the next weekend trip. Premium subscriptions with additional functions are also offered.
Tamedia was founded in 1893 and employs a staff of approximately 3,400 in Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Germany.