Last week, when startup funding tracker CB Insights released its list of some of the first bot creation startups to receive funding from major venture capital firms, Awesome.ai was mentioned among the elite. 15 companies focused on bots raised their first seed round year, CB Insights said.
What was unclear at the time was that a day prior, Awesome.ai decided it would shut down operations today.
In an email to VentureBeat today, CEO Van Miranda said the company is shutting down because it was “unable to secure additional investment beyond Slack Fund and a few angel investors.”
“Our expansion plans were to integrate with email and other productivity tools, but unfortunately we we’re unable to secure the funding to keep the mission going,” Miranda said.
Known for helping groups stay in sync, the bot from the four-person Awesome.ai team had been used by more than 4,000 Slack-using teams. Awesome.ai was ranked among the top five “Brilliant Bots” in the Slack App Store.
Awesome.ai was one of the three first investments made by the Slack Fund when Slack announced the $80 million fund to invest in innovative bot makers last December. Awesome.ai appears to be the first of those companies to shut its doors.
The Slack Fund is backed by names like Accel Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, KPCB, and Spark Capital.
The announcement was made Aug. 4 on the Awesome.ai Twitter account and Awesome.ai website.
It's been an exciting journey, but unfortunately, we're shutting down on 8/8. Thank you for being Awesome. ✨ pic.twitter.com/0dQVsQNwrM
— Awesome (@getawesome_ai) August 4, 2016
In a letter to Awesome.ai customers Aug. 1, the Awesome team said:
“We still believe that company culture is grounded in the observable actions that take place in every-day communication. By packaging behaviors & outcomes into lightweight playbooks, Awesome was designed to be a facilitator that helped teams discover information, codify their culture, and evolve it over time.”
In response to questions about the closure of Awesome.ai, a Slack representative said “…this is just the nature of early stage investing.”
Update 2:38 p.m. Aug. 8, 2016: This story was updated to include a quote from Awesome CEO Van Miranda and statement from a Slack spokesperson.