Natural language processing (NLP) has gained traction and seems to be the future of communications with our data. If you need straight forward apps to communicate with your data, check out FriendlyData. The company is integrating human voice and text into your queries to simplify sorting through your data.
AlleyWatch chatted with founder and CEO Michael Rumiancau about the startup and discussed the company’s most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $150K Seed Program investment from 500 Startups.
Tell us about your product or service.
In FriendlyData we help businesses increase user engagement and employees productivity by providing natural language interface for databases. You just need to ask a question, for example: “Find startups from New York founded in 2016 and raised more than $1M” and our API will turn natural language into SQL-query.
What inspired you to start the company?
We’ve worked together for a years and we’ve built a lot of sophisticated applications for businesses. We’ve spent a lot of time with customers in order to understand where they’re coming from. And we realized that data today at the heart of decision-making process in business. At the same time, there is no convenient interfaces for non-technical people, work with data requires skills and takes too much time.
This is why we built FriendlyData – the cloud solution, which allows businesses to provide instant natural language interaction with data for their clients or employees.
How is it different?
FriendlyData is the first on the market cloud natural language processing solution for databases. Our solution doesn’t require computational resources from customers and integration process is very easy and straightforward.
We’ve implement API-based solution, because for our customers it’s important to have a much greater level of control over how functionality is delivered to the end user. With API-based services companies have an opportunity to launch their products faster and add advanced functionality without in-house expertise (e.g. NLP).
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
The Natural Language Processing (NLP) market size is estimated to grow from $7.6B today to $16.1B by 2021. The market is a very profitable for NLP software providers.
What’s your business model?
Software as a Service. Subscription price depends on quantity of API calls and specific requirements of each customer.
Can you tell us about your time with 500 Startups?
At 500 Startups we work directly with strong mentors with relevant experience and domain expertise. Louise Fritjofsson helps us to build a sales cycle – she’s a serial entrepreneur, founder of successful B2B SaaS companies. Chris Neumann advises us on product – Chris is one of the pioneers of the Big Data revolution, founder of company Data Hero (acquired by the Cloudability about a year ago). Bernard Hong – growth hacker, he advises us on marketing strategy.
500 Startups is a network of more than 200 top Silicon Valley mentors and over 1000 alumni founders. You can always ask a question, get advice and support from each member of the 500 family.
What was the funding process like?
For batch 20, 500 Startups received about 2500 applications, interviewed 200+ companies and made offers to 44. The first stage –
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
VCs asks for revenues from deep tech companies right from day one, but building SaaS MVP is not so simple as for E-Commerce or Media startups. We overcame this challenge by providing custom integrations of our core technology for each client.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Stable team, product can’t be easily copied, rapidly growing market.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Improving a product/market fit and developing SaaS-platform, which will enable us to cover a wider market.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Do not waste valuable time trying to raise money when you could be building your company. Focus on customers, not investors, because your customers are the key to economic independence.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
I belive natural language interfaces are going to be mandatory for sophisticated applications in the next few years. Companies from the different verticals are adopting NLP solutions for bridging the communication gap between humans and machines, between users and data. We will help them to democratize data. We want to make data accessible for everyone.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
I love Mexican food. Vaqueros in Brooklyn makes great burritos.