Square gets a virtual assistant in Eloquent Labs acquisition

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Small business owners using Square's payments platform and business tools may soon be asking "Elle" for assistance with customers.

In a move to bolster merchants' ability to virtually interact with customers, Square has acquired Eloquent Labs, a conversational artificial intelligence company, Square announced on its developer blog.

During an earnings conference call, CEO Jack Dorsey last week said he prefers to view acquisitions from the standpoint of expanding on the Square ecosystem, rather than seeking more revenue or a new customer database.

"If we determine that new teams or new products would help our ecosystem or add a potential new solution that a seller is facing in a critical way or an individual with Cash App is facing, we would acquire it," Dorsey said.

Square is constantly looking at startups to evaluate the quality of teams and products, Dorsey said. "We want to buy technology and that is what we focus on," he added.

It appears that is what Square has in mind with Eloquent Labs, which initially raised $1.5 million to get the company off the ground two years ago.

Based on how Elle is designed, it is expected that Square will offer the service to merchants to better handle customer service inquiries in a chat format, providing information about returns, tracking deliveries and product availability and addressing common questions directed at the company.

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