BLOCK71 x Talkabot.id
Interview with Distra Vantari, CEO and Founder
In this particular series of the Founder’s Story, BLOCK71 Bandung had an interesting chat with Distra Vantari, the CEO and founder of Talkabot.id. Talkabot.id, as the name suggests, is a chatbot platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with clients. Besides its ability to serve thousands of clients at once, the Talkabot.id chat platform allows for human take-over features and contains a customizable inventory management system. This aspect of the chat platform is revolutionary as it allows users to design their own way of communication with their clients.
Distra’s inspiration to create Talkabot.id stems from his personal experience with his friends who often create their own brands and promote their products on social media like Facebook and Instagram. He realized that while people can successfully promote goods online using e-commerce, it is challenging for them to engage effectively with their clients as their brands grow. Often, these expanding brands find themselves in situations where they are unable to cope with an overwhelming influx of queries from their clients. This perennial problem then sparked the idea for Distra to combine AI and the chatbot platform to create Talkabot.id.
Like many other businesses, the founder and CEO of Talkabot.id have concrete plans for further expansion. When asked about the goals for Talkabot.id, Distra replied confidently ‘by the end of this year, I want to be able to reach about 500 brands’. Beyond his business goals, one of Distra’s personal goals is also to transform the skeptical mindsets of Indonesian brands towards technology. At present, many Indonesian brands are reluctant to incorporate technology as part of their operations as there is a misconception that it would be a hindrance to their businesses. Distra hopes that with his chatbot system, brands will start to understand that technology can benefit their operations immensely.
Despite Talkabot.id’s stable progress now, the journey has not always been smooth for Distra and the Talkabot.id team. When asked about his journey of creating Talkabot.id, Distra described the journey as ‘fun and hard at the same time’. In fact, the hardest part of Distra’s journey happened just last year in December when the company incurred a debt of over IDR 200 million. The company almost stopped all operations. Despite almost giving up and going back to an office job, Distra persevered and found a way to bounce back into the business. His strategy lies in proper job designation and selecting the right people for the job. While the Talkabot.id founder focused his energy on fundraising, he entrusted the operations and sales component to the rest of his team. The company also restructures fast to avoid making mistakes. Today, Talkabot.id has continuously received funding twice in a row from Kemenristekdikti, an accomplishment that not many start-ups can claim.
Distra takes his motivation in his entrepreneurial journey from the most game-changing businesses in Indonesia, including Go-Jek, Bukalapak, and Tokopedia. He hopes that with Talkabot.id, he can make a similar impact on the Indonesian landscape like his predecessors. His desire to create a product that can make a positive impact on society was also one of the reasons why Distra persevered through the company’s lowest phase.
Finally, Distra leaves budding entrepreneurs with 2 main advice to avoid pitfalls:
- Always think of the ‘why’ when you create your product
- Don’t make assumptions without validating it!
Cliche as it sounds, but when creating a product, it is important to constantly remind yourself why you started out in the first place, instead of focusing on the profits. It’s ok to make assumptions too, but market validation is crucial to test the amount of truth in those assumptions.
Find Talkabot.id on Instagram: @talkabot.id