Startup Of The Week

Statup of the Week: Levia

Levia, a conversational commerce company , uses artificial intelligence to help clients personalize shopping for customers in 30 different languages. The technology aims to increase engagement and satisfaction at a time when consumers can choose from a growing number of e-commerce stores. Its customers include French retailing giants Carrefour, Galeries Lafayette and Cdiscount as well as U.S.-based digital radio leader Pandora.

“Our mission is to help customers find relevant products effectively,” says CEO Lara Rouyres. “Retailers want to build trust and loyalty. And these assistants offer help because they can provide immediate responses any time of day.”

Levia cofounder and CEO Lara Rouyres

The company got started four years ago when the founders were developing retail technology that leveraged computer vision. The idea then was to let consumers take a picture of something they saw in a magazine and help them find a way to buy it online.

But the focus shift in 2016 when the company realized that creating a B2B service for other retailers represented a bigger opportunity.

Today, Levia’s service works in Facebook Messenger and on traditional websites. The company used large data sets to train its algorithm on a range of specific shopping categories such as fashion, food, home decoration and cosmetics. As consumers type, Levia’s shopping assistant can autocomplete questions as soon as it understands the request and then serve up an answer in a few seconds.

As the assistant becomes faster and more interactive, the company is finding that the number of conversations is soaring.

Levia raised €2 million in venture capital in 2016. Rouyres says the plan is to raise another round later this year as the company prepares to further expand its sales efforts beyond France.

About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.