- Bucharest-based DRUID AI, which offers AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants, has announced a new Series A of over €14M.
- The round was led by Estonian Karma Ventures and British Hoxton Ventures and was joined by Romanian GapMinder, amongst other investors from Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and Romania.
- This is the fifth round of investment for the startup company which places the total funding amount at over €18M.
DRUID AI is working on improving an intelligent chatbot that aids professionals from various industries communicate digitally in an efficient way. The end goal is to reduce time spent on data operation and to increase quality, and creativity while lowering costs.
This investment will be used to scale their solution internationally in Europe and North America. The team plans to hire new talents as well as add extra capabilities to its conversational AI. They will also build Conversational Business Applications that will let AI drive complex processes and businesses to achieve better results, like customer loyalty and employee retention.
“DRUID has grown fast since its launch due to its innovative AI-driven conversational business applications. This second round of GapMinder funding reaffirms our confidence in DRUID’s team and its vision to provide each employee with an intelligent virtual assistant,” Dan Mihaescu, Founding Partner at GapMinder BV, shared in the official press release.
The growth of AI chatbots
DRUID AI was co-founded in 2018 by Andreea Plesea, Daniel Balaceanu, Bogdan Pietroiu, Bogdan Grigorescu, and Liviu Dragan. They have over 130 partners, like UiPath and Microsoft, amongst others; and over 100 enterprise clients around the world.
The versatility of the solution is based on a proprietary NLP engine, powerful API and RPA connectors, and full on-premise, cloud, or hybrid deployments. Their solutions include chatbots for different departments, like HR, sales, and managers, in markets like banking, insurance, healthcare, and retail.
The chatbots adapt to each organization’s language via open integrations. This allows the smart assistants to help with automated interactions. Some of the tasks that chatbots can assist with are allowing patients to schedule appointments or inquire about services, customers to sign contracts, employees to receive HR documents, and front-office teams to access an overview of transactions, amongst others.
What is next for digital communication
Last year, DRUID AI received the Growth Star award from Deloitte 2021 CE Technology Fast 50 ranking due to its fast growth rate of 6,753%, in the 2018-2020 period. The company reached a 3.8x Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) growth rate at the end of 2021 compared to 2020 and already achieved a 2.8x growth at the end of Q1 2022 compared to the same period last year.
With entire industries required to digitize faster to ensure survival, a priority on the AI startup scaling journey is to open offices in France and Germany by the end of the year. They will continue consolidating their presence in the UK and US to reach 1K global enterprise customers by 2024 who understand communication in the 4.0 era cannot happen without AI.
In the interview below with DRUID AI’s co-founder and CEO, Liviu Dan Dragan, you will discover more about the development of their solution, their priorities, and how can the future of work look.
The Recursive: What inspired the launch of DRUID AI back in 2018?
Liviu Dan Dragan: We launched it in 2018 because in 2017 I quit my previous company, TotalSoft. I have worked as a founder and CEO for more than 20 years and, I wanted to launch an AI company that covers genetic needs, to chat and do business through conversation. We are five founders, friends close to me that are hungry to create a new story.
What motivated you to raise a funding round, the fifth, and what does it mean to the team?
Everybody’s happy to get this financial investment because it will give us the possibility to have a vertical growth, hire more people, and promote the product all over the world. We will continue to invest in the product, which is appreciated not only by clients and partners but also by the big analysts, like Gartner and Forrester.
We are staying on the inflation point to distribute our solution globally. 2022 will be the most important year for DRUID. I am confident that all the offices which we are opening now, in the UK, France, Germany, Amsterdam, in the US, the Middle East, and Asia will bring fantastic value to the company.
What does success look like for DRUID AI in the following 1-2 years?
I am confident regarding the growth. We have a clear intention for the next few years. I am keen on becoming a €1B company, but I don’t want to be arrogant. What’s important is to cover the steps up to this development phase.
We moved the second headquarters to London. The company is already under American jurisdiction, which was one of the conditions of the investors. This is the process, to be a US company. The development teams will remain in Bucharest, Romania.
How does the DRUID Chatbot help you as a CEO on a day-to-day basis?
The chatbot makes me happy and confident. I have something to work for and to dream about. I believe in our story and our product, and I dream that every employee will have a chatbot as a normal way to interact with all the information systems, an assistant to support the activities. This makes much more sense than navigating manually in the applications.
What are the ethical implications of the technological solution you are proposing for the future of work?
My father, when he found out that I was working on developing artificial intelligence, he said, how can you do artificial intelligence when I gave you natural intelligence?
There are a lot of rumors regarding AI usage, that we lose something in the process, we alienate people, but that is not true. If we navigate in an application, or we ask a chatbot to do it for us, it is closer for it to manage it than to human behavior. This is a simpler way of getting information and operating it in different systems.
What can you share with us about the AI vertical, will the new regulations limit it?
Up to now, there are some GDPRs, which are to be respected, and some regulations regarding security. But in my opinion, these are not an obstacle to the evolution of what we are doing.
One of our clients is the Israel Air Force. Can you imagine what kind of security we had to pass in the Israeli Air Force? It is part of our business to accept the rules. Sometimes it is not pleasant, other times we see things that are against evolution, but in the end, it’s part of the business.