Rasa Raises $26 Million in Series B Funding, Led by Andreessen Horowitz
Leading Conversational AI Company Will Expand Open Source Product, Developer Education, and Commercial Offerings
Rasa Technologies, Inc., the company providing the standard infrastructure layer for conversational AI, announced the completion of a Series B financing round totaling $26 million, led by Andreessen Horowitz and including participation from the firm’s Cultural Leadership Fund, a strategic fund designed to bring African American cultural leaders onto the cap tables of new technology companies. Existing investors Accel, 468 Capital, Basis Set Ventures, and Mango Capital also participated in the round. This brings Rasa’s total funding to $40 million, including a Series A completed in 2019.
While enterprises around the world are looking to incorporate chatbots in their automation strategy, the task of building an effective contextual assistant can be complex. Many chatbot companies provide ‘black box’ technology and simple drag & drop interfaces, but Rasa believes that leading-edge Natural Language Processing (NLP) research, machine learning, and flexible infrastructure are required to develop great conversational AI applications. Rasa is the only open source conversational AI company with a commitment to tools, integrations, and developer-friendly workflows that incorporate modern software development practices.
“A simplistic chatbot might be easy, but a resilient, fully contextual assistant that works is not,” said Alex Weidauer, Rasa’s CEO & co-founder. “Rasa is committed to supporting the developer in creating robust, mission-critical bot applications, through better research, investment in open source software, superior developer tools and education, and flexible on-prem or cloud deployment.”
Rasa intends to use the funding to invest in continuing growth in their open source and other products, AI research, developer & community education, and to better serve their growing commercial customer base. Rasa has seen enormous growth in product usage in the past 14 months since its last round of funding, with 6x growth in software downloads to more than 3 million, tripled community membership, and 6x growth in consumption of developer education material, covering Rasa, NLP, and machine learning topics.
The company has tripled ARR since announcing its Series A in early 2019, as Rasa Enterprise has gained traction among enterprises looking to create conversational AI applications at scale. Rasa is used by developers working in organizations of every size, including within six of the top ten banks in the world, five of the largest ten global telecommunications firms, and five of the 10 largest insurance companies.
In addition to the investment, Martin Casado, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join Rasa’s Board of Directors.
“Rasa’s approach using conversational AI while offering a developer-friendly toolset, all while maintaining a high bar for data privacy, makes them the best alternative to big cloud providers,” said Casado. “We’re excited to partner with this incredible team as they continue to invigorate engagement and build momentum in the developer and conversational AI community and deliver a better experience to customers.”
Rasa works with product teams at some of the world’s leading companies, such as Deutsche Telekom, Adobe, BMW, Airbus, ENGIE, HCA Healthcare, and Orange. Utility company ENGIE uses Rasa to streamline HR processes with a conversational AI assistant. Since launch, it’s dramatically sped up the career evolution process, reducing the time it takes to recruit a candidate from six months to two.
The conversational AI market is growing significantly among enterprises. “According to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda, 31% of enterprise CIOs have already deployed conversational platforms. This represents a 48% year-over-year growth in interest and points to conversational platforms taking center stage in enterprises’ adoption of AI,” as stated in the Gartner Market Guide for Conversational Platforms.*
The company also announced the hiring of Adam Lopez, a noted researcher from the University of Edinburgh, with two decades of experience solving hard problems in NLP. Adam will join Rasa’s research efforts starting July 1, and will lead a new Rasa technology hub in Edinburgh focused on research and product development. “I was first drawn to Rasa’s outstanding research program, but decided to join the company because I believe in the mission,” said Lopez. “Rasa is making the best conversational AI technology available to everyone, while ensuring data can remain private. I look forward to building a team in Edinburgh to further that mission.” A
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