We’ve always seen the problem of a free or low-cost personal scheduling assistant as solvable through hard science and engineering rather than through outsourcing or new interfaces. We continue to believe in this mission and are doubling down as we invest an additional $23M to bring our AI to the mass market.

Before I dig into what this all means for x.ai, a little backstory is in order.

We brought the team back together in early 2013 and worked out of Pret a Manger on Broadway for a few months scoping out the core product. (Here’s some good trivia: You need to buy about one yogurt an hour to keep your table).

On the back of that scoping work we raised a Seed Round in early 2014. The only purpose of the seed investment was to answer the question: is meeting scheduling a tractable problem, e.g. can it be solved by AI? So myself and my cofounders, Alex, Matt, and Marcos and a slightly extended team spent more than half a year trying to answer this question. Turns out, the answer is “yes.”

We raised a Series A in early 2015 so we could bring together a large team skilled enough to continue our core research and build the product—an AI personal assistant to schedule your meetings. We hired a slew of data scientists, back-end engineers, and AI trainers and delivered Amy Ingram (and then not too long after, Andrew) into the world.

We’ve been completely and utterly flabbergasted by the response to our beta product so far. People routinely mistake Amy for a human, write public love notes and, not least, we see folks offering to pay for the product (always a good sign for your venture).

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that awesome!? :-) I’ve never experienced anything like this before, and it seems almost unheard of to see this amount of love for a software product.

The customer enthusiasm, the caliber of our team, and the massive market opportunity allowed us to raise capital in an otherwise tough funding environment. Not only that, the size of this round outstrips the average Series B in both NYC ($18 million) and Silicon Valley ($22 million). Of course, we’re biased, but we like to think that we combine Silicon Valley scale ambitions with the hard-nosed business sense of NYC.

The investment was led by Colin and team over at Two Sigma Ventures. Osuke and David from DCM Ventures and my friend Jon over at Work-Bench Ventures. In addition, all of x.ai’s existing investors, IA Ventures, Firstmark Capital, Softbank Capital / SBNY, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Crunchfund, and Pritzker Group Venture Capital, have participated aggressively. Thanks guys!!

I am very happy to see the deep NLP and Machine Learning expertise that our lead investor Two Sigma brings to the table, with more than 150+ data science Phds on staff.  And we’ll see Jonathan Baxter, Vice President at Two Sigma, who is also the Founder and Director of Panscient, a natural-language and machine-learning text-extraction company, join our Data Science Advisory Board.

This financing will get us to a few key milestones. For starters, we’ll roll out our Professional and Business editions later this year, and we’ll enable access to other calendar systems such as Microsoft Office 365.  

We have one of the most experienced backend and data science teams assembled in NYC, and we are expanding it. We’re hiring the smartest people we can find. Consider quitting that deadbeat job over at the Facebook for a job with some real propellerheads 😉

Email us at jobs@human.x.ai or shoot me an email at dennis@human.x.ai if you want to exchange your engineering or data science CV (aka showcase your github account) for a free Diet Coke at our Downtown Manhattan office.

We’re excited by the challenges in the road ahead. Building an AI autonomous agent isn’t easy, but all the love Amy and Andrew receive—and the support of a  stellar set of investors—make it a lot easier to keep moving towards the audacious goal we’ve set for ourselves. Huge thanks to Madeline, Miguel, Harris, Joanna, Chris, Mandy, Ratan, Varun, Jeff, Vipul, Alisa, Sisir, Rakesh, Irena, Pedro, Wesley, Anna, Bocheng, Stefanie, Ben, Rohan, Andrew (human version), Adam, Steven, Angela, Nikhil, Joe, Penina, Sid, Prashant, Aquila, Laney, Pear, Brian, Kristal, James, Lewis, Jill, Alex, Matt and Marcos and the remainder of the team for crushing it on the first company milestone!!

 

Onwards and upwards

@dennismortensen :)
ceo and founder of x.ai