VCs Bet on NLP

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Two startups specializing in NLP reported new financing in the past week as the field heats up.

What happened: Amenity Analytic raised an $18 million B round to develop technology that can interpret in corporate earnings calls. Rasa, which makes an open-source chatbot platform, raised $13 million in Series A funding.

Why it matters: The numbers aren’t large, but they represent optimism of an NLP payoff after a long fallow period. Revenue driven by NLP could grow from $136 million in 2016 to $5.4 billion in 2025, according to market researcher Tractica.

What is Amenity Analytics? Amenity focuses on machine interpretation of public statements for clients like Citi, Nasdaq, and TimeWarner. Barclays says the startup's analysis of earnings calls helped it beat a benchmark index by nearly 13 percent.

What is Rasa? Rasa gives away its chatbot tools while selling premium versions to large companies. It’s going up against the heaviest of heavy hitters: Alphabet, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft. But lead funder Accel has a record of picking winners, including Dropbox, Facebook, and Spotify.

Bottom line: NLP is no longer computer vision’s less brainy sibling. It’s a hotbed of opportunity for up-and-coming AI pros.


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