cris villar landbot
Cris Villar


Meet the Voices of Landbot: Co-Founders Edition

How bugs can lead to breakthroughs and the power of failing forward
The origin of “Andrew” and how he got his face, plus the importance of personality
How “Dogfooding” supports a stellar sales process and saves time
logo landbot
logo landbot

Season II is here!

We're thrilled to announce a new season of Ungated Conversations! Meet your new hosts Jiaqi Pan and Rachel Kreis.

How did a system bug give Landbot its name? Where did our co-founders meet? How has Landbot developed its AI sales rep?

We answer all these questions and more as Jiaqi Pan, Co-Founder & CEO of Landbot, and Cris Villar, Co-Founder and VP of Customer Success at Landbot, unpack their journeys as entrepreneurs and Landbots evolutions over the years — from a concierge B2C offering to what it is today.

The trials and tribulations of business ownership never fail to deliver colorful experiences and offer valuable lessons that stay with you deep into the trenches of entrepreneurship. 

Jiaqi and Cris are no exceptions. Join us as we relive the Landbot story.

How Bugs Can Lead to Breakthroughs

Picture the scene: Valencia, 2014, two CEOs working to develop separate companies, nurturing over 20 projects, not knowing whether their businesses would thrive, survive, or collapse. 

They got their answer a year later when both filed for bankruptcy and shut down their companies. They had failed, but — as is the nature of entrepreneurship — they bounced back, ready to take on the next challenge using all they had learned from their previous ventures.

With the right mindset, failure can be fuel.

Jiaqi and Cris called back to the kinship they’d forged in Valencia and banded together to leverage their “complementing strengths and weaknesses” to begin building what would become Landbot — a mashup of Landing Page and Chatbot that originally came from a bug.

“The system initially was built to chat with people on the website, as a live chat in a small window,” Jiaqi says. “We suddenly had a bug in our system where all the customers who had installed one of our widgets — when the end user visited their website, they saw an entire website as a chat.”

Once they resolved the issue, they had an idea for an integrated chatbot that walked end users through the landing page instead of existing only in the corner, and so Landbot got its name and a new function — they turned the whole website into an interactive conversation. 

The Origin of “Andrew” and How He Got His Face

Personality pulls people in. People respond better to a name than a string of numbers — think Alexa from Amazon or Samsung’s Ernie — and so, one of the first acts of business in creating a successful chatbot starts with the name, and at Landbot, that name is Andrew. 

However, a name can only go so far.

“Our head of data decided we definitely need to put a face to the name, and we should use some AI technology for that,” Cris says. 

Through some clever prompts in the DALL-E AI system, Andrew, the AI Sales Rep, was born.

Andrew is more than just a pretty face. He engages and interacts with people beyond simply trying to get information from the customer in an interrogation-level cadence. There is substance and value to his conversations as there is with real sales reps.

“It becomes like a two-way conversation where you're giving information, but you are getting information at the same time,” Jiaqi says. “And you are personalizing the experience based on the information people have shared beforehand.”

The natural flow of Andrew’s conversation skills oftentimes makes it so customers are not even aware they’re speaking with an AI. 

“After we book the meeting, we reveal it — ‘How was the experience chatting with my colleague?’ And they say, ‘Oh, it was quite nice and fast.’ — we tell them, ‘Do you believe that it was an AI?’ they’re so surprised,” Jiaqi says.

Generally, Jiaqi and Cris have found that as long as customers and leads get the answers and solutions they need, there is no concern about who — or what — is providing them. 

How “Dogfooding” Supports a Stellar Sales Process

The Landbot team uses Andrew in two specific ways — externally and internally. 

Externally, or customer-facing, Andrew jumps in right after a customer books a meeting to ask general questions to garner where they’re from, what tools they use, what their goals are, what problem they’re trying to solve, and so on. 

“With all that information gathered, it will help the sales team to prepare better for the demo meeting,” Jiaqi says. “So we can show a specific use case that will solve their problem, and then we will use some of the integration with the tools they mentioned.”

Internally, Andrew provides context to sales reps from the conversations he has with prospects — industry, company name, where they sit funding-wise — anything discussed in the chatbot sphere supports the sales rep as they prepare to meet with the lead and build the relationship.

Interacting with Andrew internally helps fine-tune relational skills for the AI and catch any bugs while leveraging customer data. 

“You get not only a summary of everything that happened in that interaction with AI but also critical demographic information about the company, the lead, and recommendations for the next steps after that initial conversation, and how you should follow up with them,” Cris says. 

Andrew already supports the sales team in valuable, time-saving ways, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There may even be prospecting in his future for unmanaged inbound leads, lending to more efficient turnaround and higher conversion rates.

As for the future, Jiaqi and Cris will continue to lean into their experiences and ambitions to craft the best team and services they can. 

Interested in learning more? Listen to our full conversation with Cris and Jiaqi on the latest episode of Ungated Conversations, where we unpack Landbot's origin, explore Andrew’s development, take a stab at predicting what Andrew’s next level could look like, and more. Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.