Photo courtesy of Conversable. Ben Lamm, left, and Andrew Busey, right, are co-founders of Dallas-based Conversable.

Dallas startup Conversable bought by New York-based public company

By Danielle Abril

October 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m.

Dallas startup Conversable has been acquired by LivePerson, a publicly traded company that boasts an artificial-intelligence powered conversational platform for consumer-facing brands.

The artificial intelligence and automation development teams at Conversable, which uses conversational bot technology, or “chatbots,” to help companies communicate with consumers, will join LivePerson's global product and technology organization. Conversable co-founders Ben Lamm and Andrew Busey will serve LivePerson as part-time strategic advisors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“In bringing together our companies, we are paving the way to intuitive and authentic brand conversations throughout the entire customer lifecycle,” Lamm, CEO of Conversable, said in a release. “These conversations arm businesses with a new level of customer understanding.”

The acquisition adds a suite of products for building and deploying conversational models, social listening and outbound campaign management capabilities, and an integration with GM Onstar for in-car ordering to LivePerson's platform called LiveEngage. It also helps take expand Conversable's technology to LivePerson's 18,000 clients.

“Conversable brings to LivePerson proven social listening and outbound marketing capabilities that enhance conversational commerce, along with a set of templates and integrations that accelerate bot development for common consumer tasks like ordering ahead at a restaurants,” Robert LoCascio, CEO of LivePerson, said in a release.

The acquisition of Conversable comes just over two years after Dallas serial entrepreneur Ben Lamm and his partner Andrew Busey of Austin announced the company, which had operated in stealth mode for two years prior. Conversable's clients have included McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Wingstop, TGI Fridays and Whole Foods.

LivePerson was founded in 1995 and went public in 2000 and trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LPSN. The company generated $218.8 million in revenue last year, serving clients including Adobe, Citibank, IBM, L'Oreal, PNC and The Home Depot. In 2017, it reported a net loss of $18.1 down from $25.8 million the year prior. In the past two years, its stock price has risen from a low of $4.26 per share on Feb. 12, 2016 to $25.95 at market close on Sept. 28, 2018

LivePerson made some big hires during its fourth quarter, attracting Alex Spinelli, former global head of Alexa OS at who will serve as LivePerson's global chief technology officer, and Chief Financial Officer Chris Greiner, who previously worked for health care data analytics company Inovalon.

In addition to acquiring Conversable, in recent history, LivePerson has also scooped up companies including Contact At Once!, which offers a cloud-based platform that connects consumers with businesses through instant messaging, text messaging, chat, social media and video; Synchronite LLC, a German-based startup that provides co-browsing technology; and NexGraph, a company focused on analytics.

With the acquisition complete, Lamm's attention now will be entirely focused on what he considers his most complex venture yet: Hypergiant, a four-pronged artificial intelligence company launched earlier this year. Hypergiant offers software solutions, products based on market trends and venture capital investments.

Previously Lamm, an Austin transplant, built and sold e-learning company Simply Interactive; mobile development company Chaotic Moon, which sold to Accenture; and gaming company Team Chaos, which sold to Zynga.