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Rasa Inks $26M Series B

2020-06-23
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Rasa Technologies today announced the completion of a Series B financing round totaling $26 million.
Rasa Technologies, the company providing the standard infrastructure layer for conversational AI, today 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."

* Gartner, "Market Guide for Conversational Platforms", Mangus Revang, et al, July 30, 2019

About Rasa
Rasa supplies the standard infrastructure for conversational AI, providing the tools required to build better, more resilient contextual assistants. With more than 3 million downloads since launch, Rasa Open Source is loved by developers worldwide, with a friendly, fast-growing community learning from each other and working together to make better text- and voice-based AI assistants.

Rasa offers three key products in its suite of conversational AI offering. Rasa Open Source is the most popular open source software in conversational AI. Rasa X, released in 2019, is a free toolset that helps developers quickly improve and share an AI assistant built with Rasa Open Source. Rasa Enterprise is the company's commercial offering, providing an enterprise-grade platform for developing contextual assistants at scale. Rasa runs in production everywhere from startups to Fortune 500s, and provides the data privacy and security needed to enterprises of every size.

Rasa is privately held, with funding from Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Basis Set Ventures, and others. The company was founded in 2016 and has offices in San Francisco and Berlin. www.rasa.com

About Andreessen Horowitz
Andreessen Horowitz backs bold entrepreneurs who move fast, think big, and are committed to building the next major franchises in technology. Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the firm provides entrepreneurs with access to expertise and insights in innovation, executive and technical talent, market intelligence, business development, and marketing and brand-building. Find us in Menlo Park, Calif., and at www.a16z.com.
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