When I was first told about BioHiTech’s “Alto” — which is its Slack-hosted chat bot platform — I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, given that BioHiTech is currently my favorite startup idea I had high expectations. But, really, with the complete failures that have ultimately become of every single other chat bot ever created— I did my best to keep my expectations in check. However, what I was introduced to via Alto was nothing I could have ever expected under even the most aspirational fantasies.
Alto is incredible.
Now, some of this I’ve already told you. So, I’ll spare you the financial tethering of the chat bot platform and what it can do for/what it means to BioHiTech Global — the publicly traded, $26 million startup that owns the underlying technology (OTCQB:BHTG). For more on that, you click the link above.
That said, you should definitely click the link above if you invest in startups and/or early- stage tech. Guys, I really think BioHiTech could be a generational story of a company that does that mythical 10X…20X…30X…etc. Seriously, I do. A lot of that top-end possibility (expectation?) has to do with how early-stage the story is and how valuation starved the under known story is, but quite a bit of it also has to do with how much I believe in the bottom line technology that represents the investment thesis at BioHiTech.
Look into the ever-impressive (and growing more impressive) story at BioHiTech; I’m open to hearing rebuttals (via the comments section below). I just don’t think, other than scale and your standard funding/execution/macro-economy risks, that there’s much of a rebuttal to give at this point. The startup has executed at every stage of development (and then some); and it’s executed while providing a data-based, quantifiable value-add to customers. It’s earned the benefit of most of the doubt moving forward. And at ~$26 million in valuation, the full weight of any reasonable doubt is priced into the market cap. Again though, the intention of this particular Medium isn’t/wasn’t to present the investment thesis behind BioHiTech.
What I wanted to do in this brief follow-up Medium was give readers a look into the chat bot platform that BioHiTech is deploying (again, which is Slack-based) to provide all
those benefits to itself and to its customer base (benefits which I outlined in my prior Medium). Guys, this isr eally impressive stuff. BioHiTech’s chat bot doesn’t just communicate with normal-language queries — it can and often does respond with smart suggestions.
Now, I say that carefully in that I realize the chat bot (the return-data ping to the query- ping), for instance, is simply running operational checks associated with programmed logic associated with the query-ping; but what Alto presents at least appears to the user as a smart suggestion. And appearance 1) is everything in tech and 2) is especially everything in an uber-low tech industry niche. This is not an industry niche, waste management essentially, that is generally considered an early-adopter of new-tech. It just isn’t. So, BioHiTech’s presentation becomes especially important in driving adoption.
Alto doesn’t just have to 1) work and 2) provide an immediate and highly visible value-add (it currently does), it also has to be enjoyable to use.
That’s the adoption hurdle that BioHiTech (via Alto) is facing. So far, it’s hurdling right over it. My guess is, with refining and further evolution, BioHiTech becomes even better at jumping this hurdle.
But I realize that seeing is believing. In fact, I had to see Alto myself to really dig into the idea and to really become supportive of the platform. I wasn’t immediately a fanboy when initially hearing that “bots, bots, the bots are coming” (it’s just not my nature). That sentiment quickly shifted into full blown, super-fanboy championing of the platform, however, once I sat through a real-time demo from Bill Kratzer.
The Next Evolution in High-Tech Waste Management: “Are You Hungry?”
The following are screenshots taken from a real-time presentation of Alto (presented by Bill Kratzer via BioHiTech):
NOTES: immediate response time to data-queries, easy to read responses, operational and user-efficiency data presented (in text), operational and user-efficiency data presented via quick/easy to read data-visual [presumably you can rip this data for drop-in to a BI vehicle (Power BI, Tableau Desktop, Qlik Sense Desktop, etc.)], maintenance schedule access.
ANALYSIS: ALL are powerful features/usage benefits if you’re using the BioHiTech digester to create increased returns at your location (via driving efficiency from waste management). For the record, as stated in many notes prior, that is in fact the entire purpose of contracting out a BioHiTech digester — to drive business returns. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Golden Corral or a Hilton Hotel; you’re not allocating capital to a BioHiTech digester without expecting a return on investment. So, this screenshot matters.
NOTES: immediate response to basic uptime data query AND presentation of “smart” suggestion; suggestion of how to fill smart suggestion order.
ANALYSIS: There are fewer things more important in technology than uptime. I mean, quite literally uptime determines efficacy levels of everything else. The ability to not only see uptime via a quick return-data ping but to have smart suggestions as to how to maintain the highest levels of uptime is a priceless asset to both company (BioHiTech in this instance) and customer (BioHiTech’s customer). Having the machine itself instruct the user on how exactly to help it maintain uptime is a value-add that not many would have thought to add into presentation. That Kratzer did speaks volumes about the hands that the BioHiTech digester fleet is in. Another hugely powerful part of the demonstration that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
NOTES: immediate response to machine-level efficiency data-query, smart suggestion to machine-level efficiency data-query, auto-update to machine-level efficiency data-query.
ANALYSIS: Guys, this might be the single most impressive screen I’m going to present today. We were just talking about uptime and efficacy (in the screenshot analysis above); this particular screenshot takes that conversation the next step further. Once you’ve been assured of uptime, the next concern becomes overall efficiency. If the entire purpose of a BioHiTech digester is to create something of a return on investment (in fact it is — most prospects, if not all, considering BioHiTech’s digesters aren’t non-profit entities simply looking to “save the world”), maximizing the utility of that investment is the ultimate goal. That BioHiTech’s digesters 1) compile the data to be able to recognize when resources are being wasted on it and 2) are smart enough to make the suggestion to increase resource efficiency AND auto-execute the suggestion being made is what differentiates BioHiTech’s chat bot. Now, we’re not just talking about a chat bot — we’re talking about a chat bot that acts in the capacity of an operational manager. One who’s entire job is to maximize the utility of the capital being allocated to the digesters. Only this employee never gets sick, requires no benefits from its employer, never has trouble during the commute to work, etc. BioHiTech isn’t just bringing a chat bot to its customers, it’s bringing a new employee. Guys, that matters in a big, big way.
From purely an operational and efficiency standpoint BioHiTech digesters make sense. That’s never been questioned since I was lucky enough to come across the startup as an investment idea. BioHiTech has consistently been able to provide a data-based, fully- quantifiable value-add (READ: ROI) for customers. Which, by the way, has been enough to scale to the startup to $26 million in valuation, multiple funding rounds (uprounds — which aren’t easy to execute in the current funding environment), and an ever-growing customer/reseller base (including an international presence). BioHiTech’s data-based value-prop is so convincing, recently Tusk Ventures (the same Tusk Ventures that led the scaling efforts at both Uber and FanDuel) signed BioHiTech as a client. I’ve never questioned the probability of success at BioHiTech based on this (its data-based, quantifiable value-prop) and many, many other ancillary factors. But with Alto, we’re talking about the potential to truly disrupt an industry (waste management) that is absolutely huge.
And yes, this was possible prior to Alto; but now it’s simply higher in probability. Alto makes visible all the little things that BioHiTech’s digesters can do for an underlying enterprise. Little things, in tech, often become big things once visible. Which is why I’m so bulled up Alto and the future of Alto.
What Alto is already doing, and I presume the capacity of Alto is only going to expand, as an add-on to the BioHiTech model is reason enough for me to recommend readers look into BioHiTech from a customer standpoint and from an investor standpoint. It’s not often you’re going to get the opportunity to 1) contract out for a product that’s going to drive a quantifiable return and/or 2) be able to invest in a new-tech startup with such high visibility into success. BioHiTech has always brought the data and the value, now with Alto it’s bringing the sex appeal as well.
Good luck everybody.