We're taking all of our learnings from IntelAgent and taking the core of that platform and moving in to disrupt the IVR market, which is about a six billion dollar market - it's a big chunk of business to be had if you can get it right. It's not going to be easy and it's not going to be fast but yeah, that's what we are looking at over the horizon. That's the next stage and that's one of the reasons we're going back out to raise from the market.
MO: It's exciting to see where it could possibly go in two years time and see where we are then compared to now.
PS: Yeah. If anyone searched Google Duplex, they’ll see a video of a really good demonstration that Google have done. We've kind of flipped that on its head. Google have done/are doing something with duplex whereby you can ask your Google Assistant to phone say a hair salon to make an appointment. In fact, the demo shows that; it's an assistant talking to a human but it's a very natural conversation.
For us, we think it makes more sense to flip that on its head and the more likely scenario and the more useful scenario unless you're trying to sell phones like Google are, is that a human will phone and get connected to a voice agent - a voice bot and they can say something along the lines of ‘I'm on my way to the airport and I forgot to check in, can you help me?’, through voice authentication and through IntelAgent Integrations, we will be able to say ‘Yeah, no problem Marco’ we’d run through a couple of questions like you do on any online check-in and then send the boarding passes directly to your handset. So that’s that. It would be very cool.
MO: Yeah, that would make life easier for everybody wouldn’t it. If we could get that up and running and in position that would be fantastic.
PS: It would, 100%.
MO: So, the majority of startups fail and unfortunately that's mainly due to lack of funding. Obviously, at We Build Bots, we manage to achieve 55% of the original target in 10 days which is unbelievable and then ended up over funded by 45%. Can you give the listeners a little bit of an insight into your experience and any advice you might give to startups going through their first round of funding.
PS: Yeah. Well I can talk about my experience. I'm no expert but I can certainly talk around what we did and how we went about it. We were looking for £500,000 which transpired, in our experience, to be a bit too punchy for some of the Angel Investors and the networks that we were talking to but not big enough for some of the Institutional Investors. The Angels typically wanted to push us down on valuation and wanted to put in around about £100,000/£200,000 between a consortium and consortiums are notoriously hard to manage because you've got to get everyone to agree. Then the Institutional/VC type money don't really, in our experience, open up conversations before two/three million which we just didn't really need at the time.
The other route was crowdfunded. I know some of the guys at Seedrs which was the platform we used and there's other ones too like Crowdcube but we went with Seedrs and it seemed to plug the gap really well. We managed to secure what they call a Cornerstone Investor, Seedrs typically like you to come on their platform with about 30% of the money raised already. We managed to do 50% through Development Bank of Wales, which is great and then we got off to a really good start on Seedrs. It started to tail off a little bit in the middle of the campaign - it's a 60-day campaign so around about 25/30 days it starts to tail off a bit so we just turbocharged the campaign. We went back out to our existing networks, did email marketing, put some Facebook ad spend behind it, did some PPC and just became a bit more aggressive in the way we did our outreach. Then we got a big chunk dropped in by an Angel and from there things just really accelerated.
We hit our target with about 20 days to go and we just let it run and we closed on about £720,000 which was about 40% overfunding which was good actually because it meant that we could accelerate some of our hiring plans within six weeks. Then we went from four of us to fourteen of us.
MO: Myself included.
PS: Yep, yourself included. You’re probably the best one.
MO: Thanks very much, nice of you to say that.
PS: Yeah. I'm actually glad that we did over fund as it's extends the runway. It means that we can get moving a bit more quickly than planned and that's ringing true, we're ahead of target and touch wood so far so good.
MO: Yeah and like you said, I think it's going from strength to strength and we've got the next round of funding so if people want to follow the journey they can add us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or visit our website at IntelAgent.ai.
PS: Yeah and if there are investors listening or Angels or anyone who wants to be involved in the next round then watch this space, we’ll be going back to market within the next four weeks.
MO: Fantastic. So, thanks for joining - one of the things we ask everyone is what tool or app couldn't you live without if you had to remove all your other applications?
PS: Probably WhatsApp. I’m in so many groups, whether it be work, social etc. I've joined some really interesting ones from voice groups to digital event groups. I go to Singapore next week and there's a group around that for what to do in Singapore. Also family groups of course.
MO: Of course, there’s always a family group.
PS: Yeah so probably Whatsapp. There are probably more important ones out there but that's the one I’d choose.
MO: It's connecting you to other people isn’t it.
PS: Yeah, I think so. It's the one that springs to mind.
MO: Well, thank you again for joining us! We’ll catch you soon.