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Bot-First Companies in 2017 — The VC Landscape [INFOGRAPHIC]

Insights October 16, 2017


Bot-First Companies in 2017 — The VC Landscape [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Tom Hadfield

$73 million // 26 bot companies

Much like the wave of “mobile-first” startups several years ago, a new generation of “bot-first” companies have attracted significant venture capital in the past 12–18 months.

We have identified 26 bot-first companies in the enterprise space who have successfully raised at least a traditional seed round. Cumulatively these 26 enterprise bot companies have raised just over $73 million, primarily within the last 18 months or less.

We’ve broken down additional analysis of each bot startup in a few ways:

  1. Total funding the company has received
  2. Funding dates
  3. The leading seed round investors
  4. Messaging platforms they’re available on today
  5. The industry category they’re disrupting

Note: We excluded the bot-building developer tools from this analysis, focusing instead on companies with applications for workplace messaging platforms, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark and Atlassian Stride.

👉 UPDATE: Since the time of producing this graphic, an additional company received funding, Drift, with a $32M Series B Round (Communication Category). The round was led by General Catalyst, with additional participation from CRV and HubSpot and Sequoia Capital.

Funding Cycles & Investor Trends

2016 was the first major surge of venture capital into enterprise bot companies. The pacing has largely been set by Slack and its Slack Fund, which made its first investments in 2015, went big in 2016, and has made a few additional investments in 2017, albeit at a slower pace.

Several bot-first companies that raised their seed round in 2015 or 2016 went on to raise their Series A in 2017, such as Guru’s $9.3M Series A this September, and Talla’s $8.3M Series A in June.

In all, Slack has been a lead investor on more funding rounds than anyone else in the space, with General Catalyst showing up in second, and FirstMark Capital taking the third top spot.

Industry Categories

Productivity companies lead the pack, with HR following close, and Office Management coming in third.

Every new technology wave threatens to disrupt legacy players, and bots are no exception. For example, with the emergence of cloud-based SaaS applications, Google Docs quickly disrupted the legacy dominance of Microsoft Office and other incumbents. Many entrepreneurs running bot-first companies are betting a similar disruption is on the horizon. For example, Sudo and Troops are vying to disrupt traditional CRM tools, while Statsbot aims to disrupt analytics.

Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike are asking the same question: why open another application when you can access all your data and tools right inside Atlassian Stride, Cisco Spark, Slack, or Microsoft Teams?

This article is the second of an ongoing series, The Conversational Workplace Opportunity, which will examine how enterprise messaging is transforming the world of work.

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