Unreal! This NYC Startup Raised $10M with Its AI Email Assistant



Think a good personal assistant is hard to find? Meet Amy Ingram, an artificial intelligence/personal assistant designed not only to understand natural language. She will also be able to carry on human-like email dialogues with your guests or associates to help schedule your meetings. She is able to learn your personal scheduling preferences, too, so that date, time and location are being negotiated on your terms. You can mentor Amy by simply emailing her your favorite coffee shop, conference bridge, Skype ID or the fact that you don’t do meetings on Wednesdays, and she’ll remember it.

All you have to do is CC amy@x.ai into your email thread just like you would use a human personal assistant. Amy then takes over, so you can focus on more important tasks. The service does not require you to download yet another app, sign-up for yet another account or remember yet another password! Amy simply exists in the dialogue you have with her.

It’s currently in private beta.

The software is the brainchild of x.ai, and it’s a time-saver that has certainly captured the attention of the venture community. Softbank Capital, IA Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and CrunchFund all participated in the Series A round.

Founder and CEO Dennis R. Mortensen tells us about the funding and his new personal assistant.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

  • We put the team back together in February 2014.
  • We raised ~$2M (SEED) in May 2014
  • We raised ~$10M (A) end December 2014 (Announced January 2015)

Our investors are: Softbank Capital, IA Ventures, Lerer Ventures, FirstMark Capital Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and CrunchFund.

Tell us about your product.

x.ai is a personal assistant who schedules meetings for you

How is it different?

We use Artificial Intelligence (AI) instead of Humans or as CBS NEWS put it: “Amy feels like the future. Even more than Siri and Google Now, she seems seamlessly human and as effective as a real person doing the same task.”

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

We are initially targeting 87 million US knowledge workers, scheduling over ~10 billion formal meetings a year.

Do you have an assistant and how has Amy made his or her life easier?

Amy is my only assistant! And I love her. That said, she does have a twin brother Andrew@x.ai – and I do use him from time to time.

What’s your business model?

Freemium – we are not yet in market with our premium product, but our initial expectation is a pro product that cost no more than a good cup of coffee.

What was the funding process like?

It is really just a set of administrative tasks. The more interesting part is how we invest the few dollars that we were entrusted.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

This is a major science challenge and we are heads down trying to deliver on the promise of us being able to fully emulate a human assistant over email.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Never surrender!

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

No change in direction. We schedule meetings. No more, no less!

How does New York craft beer compare to Danish beer?

Carlsberg. Probably the best beer in the world 😉

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