Startup-university collaboration bolster business chatbot development

SOURCE: Nicolas Asfourti/AFP
Startup’s collaboration with university hits the sweet spot, making it poised to develop the first business chatbot of its kind in the UK.

By U2B Staff 

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It’s full steam ahead for technological revolution, but these advancements have left companies scrambling to push the envelope to solve 21st-century business challenges that improve their workflow, enhance their security and overall competitiveness. 

Intelligent business chatbots have emerged as a quick and efficient way to ask questions and obtain information in real-time, but a lack of technical expertise to develop the technology is a stumbling block for many. 

But universities are home to a talent pool that makes it ripe for collaboration with businesses, which is what Swansea tech start-up Business Butler is doing in Wales.

Universities are fertile grounds for business collaborations

It’s a collaboration sweet spot when Business Butler and Cardiff Metropolitan University combine forces to develop an intelligent business chatbot.

Armed with the support and guidance of senior academics from the university, Business Butler is poised to develop the first business chatbot of its kind in the UK to help address business challenges, reported News From Wales.


According to Business Butler’s website, the business chatbot will be powered by artificial intelligence (AI), and help startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find a fully vetted business expert to work with their business, in addition to answering questions on thousands of business topics, from networking to co-working and corporation tax to grants.

The company used the SMART Partnership with Cardiff Met to help develop their idea of an intelligent business chatbot.

SMART Partnerships provide financial support to collaborative and innovative projects that are in need of a range of expertise to support business growth, improve productivity and increase competitiveness, notes the Welsh Government. 

Helping businesses go the extra mile

The scheme helps increase the capacity and capabilities of Welsh businesses to develop R&D activities by linking them with research organisations and an associate to help work on a project which develops new services, products, and processes, with funding of projects partially-funded by the Welsh Government. 

Bhupinder Sidhu, Business Butler founder, was quoted saying by the report: “We believe the chatbot will be able to make a significant contribution to SME businesses, supporting sustainable growth, helping to grow profitability and ultimately improving business survival rates.

“To help make our idea of a business chatbot a reality we knew we needed quality technical expertise, so we approached Cardiff Metropolitan University to be our Research Organisation partner. Together we developed a SMART Partnerships application which has led to real technical advancements within Business Butler and in our understanding of how AI can be used to benefit business.”

Through funding from SMART Partnerships, Business Butler could recruit a full-time developer to work on the coding and development of the chatbot, which is being done with the support and guidance of senior academics at Cardiff Met.

In speaking about the initiative, Cardiff Met’s Director of Innovation, Matthew Taylor, said the SMART Partnership programme serves as a great platform for the university to apply their research to benefit a local company. 

“The scheme is easy to access, affordable, and has allowed academics from our new School of Technologies to successfully collaborate with Business Butler.”

The business chatbox is scheduled to be released in May 2020.