Rasa raises $26M Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz to build contextual assistants that really help customers
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. Enter Rasa, a San Francisco, CA-based tech startup that builds the standard infrastructure layer for conversational AI.
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.
Today, Rasa announced it has closed $26 million in Series B financing round to expand open source product, developer education, and commercial offerings. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with 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. In conjunction to the funding, Rasa also announced that Martin Casado, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join its Board of Directors.
Founded in 2016 by Alan Nichol and Alex Weidauer, 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 used 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.
“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.
“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.”