European AI startup Druid today announced it has raised $30 million in a Series B round of funding, as it looks to double down on its U.S. growth which it says now makes up the lion's share of its revenue.
Founded out of Romania in 2018, Druid touts its "conversational business applications" that lean on both traditional conversational AI models and fledgling generative AI served by ChatGPT.
For instance, a company that wants to automate customer support 24/7 when human personnel might be offline or to fill a staff gap, can tap into Druid's platform to train a conversational assistant for whatever their use case.
Druid: Customer support. Image Credits: Druid
It's worth noting that there are numerous similar companies out there, including Germany's Cognigy, Florida's Kore.ai and New York's Amelia, which closed a $175 million round of funding earlier this year. And all this before we even discuss conversational AI tools from the Big Tech sphere such as Amazon's Lex.
However, Druid is striving to differentiate in a number of ways, perhaps most notably at the moment through bringing ChatGPT to the mix. Stemming from a collaboration with Microsoft a couple of months back, Druid offers customers access to more knowledge to handle more general customer queries. On top of that, the integration also bolsters its ability to detect intent in the language used by customers.
"By integrating generative AI, Druid is able to tap into a vast reservoir of knowledge and quickly generate answers for more generic queries, meaning businesses can provide support without investing countless hours in manual bot-training," Dragan said.
Druid and ChatGPT in action. Image Credits: Druid
And this is a key point worth picking up on. ChatGPT and its ilk aren't the answer to all enterprise problems -- they are complementary, and not necessarily well-suited to every specific industry scenarios by virtue of the fact that they are built on a general-purpose language model.
"Think of it [GPT models] as adding new powers to an already powerful engine," Dragan continued. "Many of the use-cases we serve remain primarily catered for by our existing conversational AI tools and the integrations we support."
In terms of deployment, Druid can be hosted on-premises or in the cloud, which is key for companies seeking full control of all their data. And through APIs, Druid can connect to existing systems such as customer relationship management (CRM) and human resources information systems (HRIS).
"Think of Druid as a universal translator that seamlessly links to systems you already have in place," Dragan said.
Prior to now, Druid had raised around $20 million, including a $15 million Series A last year, and with its latest cash injection the company said that it plans to extend its global footprint, with a particular focus on the U.S. which Dragan says now constitutes some 60% of its revenue.
Druid claims some 150 employees globally, two-thirds of which are based at its domestic hub in Bucharest, with others spread across Melbourne (Australia), Austin (U.S.) and London (U.K.). But with its uptick in U.S. revenue, the company says that it intends to shift its headquarters to Austin in the coming months.
Druid's Series B round was led by New York-based investment firm TQ Ventures, with participation from an array of European investors, including Smedvig Capital, GapMinder, Hoxton Ventures and Karma Ventures.