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Poncho wins the chatbot popularity contest; keeps the yarn ball rolling with Kik launch and new suite of features

With real-time rain alerts, in-conversation shopping, and a fresh Kik bot, Poncho integrates more deeply with a user's day-to-day

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 10/19/16 -- Are bots the new apps? You heard Satya (and lots of others) say it. Others claim bots are hype. Meanwhile Poncho, the personalized weather and content service fronted by the eponymous cat from Brooklyn, has been staying out of the argument and simply kicking butt. Since launching in April 2016 at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference, Poncho's chatbot has seen massive engagement and retention, and has steadily rolled out new features to keep users excited about their best bot-friend, and today has debuted on the Kik platform.

Bucking industry concerns about chatbot retention rates, Poncho has user retention more than double that for comparable mobile app, and exchanges hundreds of thousands of messages with users each day.

"The response to Poncho has been amazing," said Sam Mandel, CEO of Poncho and partner at betaworks. "Poncho's just like any of us: By having so many conversations with people, Poncho's conversational repertoire has grown, which helps him cross over from bot to 'friend.' Our team has built a unique technology package and tools that enable a small writing team to generate funny, personalized content that touches our users over a million times a month."

What's New with Poncho:

  • As of today, Poncho is now a Kik bot, including features exclusive to the platform, based on the Kik user's innate sociability and love of sharing:
    • Be your own virtual pizza chef -- Create a custom pizza with pepperoni, veggies, or anchovies (Poncho's fave), and share it with your friends
    • Send a round of shots to your friends -- Screenshots, that is! Users can easily share their conversations with Poncho
    • Break the ice with Poncho -- "Would you rather?" games, pick-up lines, and jokes with Poncho in group chat help ease awkward moments

"Bots are integral to connecting people, places, and things in a fun and engaging way," said Laura Newton, product manager at Kik. "We've been working hard to find more great developers and brands, and we're excited to introduce our users to Poncho, a unique and playful weather forecasting bot."

Other improvements are debuting cross-platform, and available to users on both Facebook Messenger and Kik:

  • U.S. users can now receive more custom, location-based weather alerts -- Poncho will give you a heads-up if it's going to rain in the next few minutes, or if the temperature is ideal for an evening jog.
  • Poncho is able to tell you if the weather tomorrow is suitable for an invigorating run, partnering with premium performance apparel brand Tracksmith to provide shoppable, weather-based athleticwear recommendations within your conversation. This is the first of a series of activity-based weather alerts Poncho will be debuting this fall.
  • To encourage users to vote, Poncho is providing location-based prompts and stickers for voter registration. On Election Day, users can expect a custom forecast to remind them to vote. Poncho 4 Prez!
  • Poncho horoscopes are in beta and available to check out in conversation with the bot. Whether you're an adventurous Aries or a generous Leo, Poncho can now share your horoscope so you'll know if this week will be a good one.

For more information about Poncho, please visit: www.poncho.is and https://medium.com/@hiponcho. Or to chat with Poncho, visit m.me/hiponcho.

About Poncho
Poncho helps you through your day with personalized weather info, horoscopes, and activity forecasts tailored to your lifestyle. You can get everything delivered by bot interaction via Facebook Messenger, Slack and now Kik, as well as via email, text message, iOS & Android apps and notifications. Boring meteorology is now a thing of the past. After Poncho asks you a series of questions about your wake-up time, morning commute, and allergy & hair concerns, users immediately begin receiving witty weather updates. It's like being friends with your local weatherman, if he were a cool cat from Brooklyn.

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