Rasa, a Berlin, Germany-based startup developing a standard infrastructure layer for conversational AI, today announced that it’s raised $13 million in series A funding led by Accel, with participation from Basis Set Ventures, OpenAI cofounder and chairman Greg Brockman, UiPath CEO Daniel Dines, and Hashicorp founder Mitchell Hashimoto. It brings its total raised to roughly $14 million, following a $1.1 million seed round last summer. CEO Alex Weidauer says it’ll use the money to move Rasa’s headquarters to San Francisco, expand the team, and fuel further growth and development.
“Rasa is building the standard infrastructure layer for conversational AI that allows all developers to create the best text and voice-based AI assistants,” Weidauer said. “Our tremendous growth in our open source community shows the appetite of developers for our tools across industries and use cases.”
For the uninitiated, Rasa provides open source tools designed to help developers build and improve text-and voice-based chatbots and assistants. Its eponymous Rasa Stack framework automates conversations in custom AI environments on-premesis or in the cloud while allowing companies to retain ownership over their data, while Rasa Platform — its other core product — simplifies the deployment and scaling of solutions built with Rasa Stack.
Rasa specifically targets domains like sales and marketing and advanced customer service in health care, insurance, telecom, banking, and other enterprise verticals, and says its customers include Circle Medical, T-Mobile, MoneyLion, BMW, Swiss insurance company Helvetia, Allianz, Airbus, Toyota, women’s health bot startup Tia, and five of the 10 largest U.S. banks. It also says that “thousands” of developers have downloaded Rasa Stack over half a million times.
“Automation is the next battleground for the enterprise, and while this is a very difficult space to win, especially for unstructured information like text and voice, we are confident Rasa has what it takes given their impressive adoption by developers,” said Accel partner Andrei Brasoveanu. “Existing solutions don’t let in-house developer teams control their own automation destiny. Rasa is applying commercial open source software solutions for AI environments similarly to what open source leaders such as Cloudera, Mulesoft, and Hashicorp have done for others.”
Adobe recently used Rasa’s tools to build an AI assistant that enables users to search through Adobe Stock, its curated library of millions of curated royalty-free photos, videos, illustrations, vector graphics, 3D assets, and templates, using natural language commands.
“Finding the right photo on Adobe Stock can prove time-consuming, with over 100 million images alone. We wanted to give our users an AI assistant that lets them search with natural language commands,” said Adobe director of software development Brett Butterfield. “We looked at several online services, and, in the end, Rasa was the clear choice because we were able to host our own servers and protect our users’ data privacy. Being able to automate full conversations and the fact it is open source were key elements for us.”
Rasa has offices in the Bay Area in addition to Berlin, Germany, and was founded in 2016.