Deutsche Telekom and Proximus are investing in a chatbot and an entrepreneur community as they look to back emerging businesses in their home markets.

Deutsche Telekom’s incubator hub:raum has invested an undisclosed sum in Berlin-based Twyla, which has developed a customer service technology for large enterprises.

The company’s ‘Hybrid Brain’ technology allows basic tasks to be offloaded to a trainable chatbot.

The virtual agent uses a combination of machine learning and programmed rules to gain knowledge of what customers want and how to respond to them, and can escalate queries to a human agent if needed.

Founded in 2015, Twyla already partners with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems Multimedia Solutions to offer the customer service solutions to its enterprise customers.

The start-up is also backed by investment firm BoHa Capital and retail software company ProductsUp.

Paul Gibbins, co-founder and Managing Director of Twyla, said: “For the first time ever self-service content and conversational channels can be united using this emerging technology.

“In this way we aim to help businesses to reduce customer support costs without negatively impacting the customer experience.”

Meanwhile, Proximus announced it was investing €200,000 to take a 20 percent stake in Co.Station, a Belgian entrepreneur community.

The operator has worked with Co.Station a network of 2,000 business people, start-ups, corporate participants and investors, since 2016.

It provides a co-working space, an accelerator programme and educational facilities.

Other partners include BNP Paribas Fortis and EY.

“Proximus wants to play a catalyst role in stimulating entrepreneurship and helping new digital companies in Belgium innovate and grow,” said Proximus CEO Dominique Leroy.

“As a founding partner of Co.Station Ghent, we realised how much we share Co.Station’s values and ambitions. Becoming a shareholder was the logical next step.”

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