Based in Mountain View, Passage AI was founded in 2016 by a trio of Silicon Valley veterans with backgrounds in deep learning and artificial intelligence: WalmartLabs alumni Madhu Mathihalli and Ravi Raj, and LinkedIn alumnus Mitul Tiwari.
The financing represents the company’s second raise in less than eighteen months. The round also includes participation from previous investors Storm Ventures, Engineering Capital, 11.2 Capital, and a number of angel investors. In a seed round that was announced last September, Passage AI raised $3 million from a group of investors including Milliways Ventures and Array Ventures.
So far, the startup’s customers have primarily been in the retail, auto manufacturing, and online learning sectors. Kohl’s, Udacity, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ford Motor Co, BMW, Nissan, Calgary Public Library, and Accenture are among its customers.
Passage AI plans to use the latest capital infusion to “aggressively expand” into new industries and international markets.
“Our platform is inherently language agnostic because of the way we do classification and deep learning,” Raj told Crunchbase News. “So it’s completely language neutral. As such, we’re seeing a lot of interest from large corporation in Asia and Europe, and we’re planning to use this money in part to expand to those continents.”
As part of the financing, Blumberg Capital Managing Director Bruce Taragin will join Passage AI’s board of directors. San Francisco-based Blumberg focuses on early-stage investments.
Market demand has led to Passage AI being one of the fastest growing early-stage SaaS companies Blumberg has come across, according to Taragin. The startup has created a bot-building tool that uses AI and natural language processing technologies, requires no coding, and can be deployed anywhere in two weeks.
“The accuracy and ease of use of Passage AI has captured attention—and dollars—from blue chip G2000 companies,” Taragin said in a press release. “We are excited to work with Passage AI to fuel continued growth in the conversational AI sector.”
Aside from ease of use and technical chops, the startup has also shown the ability to make money. Passage AI surpassed $1 million in annual recurring revenue within six months of launching its product in the second half of 2017 and currently has 20 employees, according to Raj.