In its first deal, Smartsheet has announced the acquisition of Converse.AI, which offers a SaaS platform that enables conversational
The 451 Take
Converse.AI will continue offering its product and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Smartsheet. There are no immediate plans to change the product functionality, pricing structure or service levels that Converse.AI provides to its customers. Its staff, including its founders, have become Smartsheet employees. The deal closed December 28.
Deal RationaleThis move is significant in terms of complementing Smartsheet's workflow automation roadmap. It should help the company address customer demand for product enhancements that better accommodate more complex work scenarios.
For Converse.AI, although still in the early stages, the company had deployments that prove the viability of its technology. It faced an increasingly competitive landscape. In addition to other startups, it vied with large tech providers that are investing heavily in developing their bot-building offerings. These include companies like Microsoft and Google Cloud, which recently announced the launch of Dialogflow Enterprise Edition.
Target ProfileConverse.AI is a young startup focused on conversational workflow automation and natural language processing (NLP). It was founded in 2015 by CEO Tony Lucas and Gihan Munasinghe. The company is based in San Francisco, with an office in Edinburgh.
In 2016 it launched
A key differentiation for Converse.AI is its positioning among LOB users. While its rivals typically focus on developers, Converse.AI targets LOB decision-makers and analysts with its easy-to-use yet powerful tool with a no-code, drag-and-drop UI.
Smartsheet was founded in 2006 and is based in Bellevue, Washington, with an office in Boston. It currently has over 760 employees. The company has raised more than $120m in funding to date, including its most recent round in May 2017, when it landed $52.1m at a valuation of $852m. Smartsheet claims that it is used by more than 70,000 brands across 190 countries. Reference customers include Cisco, Aramark, World Vision, Netflix, Colliers International
Raúl Castañón-Martínez is a senior analyst based in Boston focusing on business communications and collaboration technologies such as enterprise messaging, voice, bots, speech recognition and unified communications. Before 451 Research, he was a product manager at EMOSpeech, analyzing emotion recognition technology.
Scott Denne is a Senior Analyst with 451 Research, where he helps direct the firm's coverage of technology mergers and acquisitions. He also contributes to 451 Research's Customer Experience & Commerce Channel with coverage of the advertising technology industry.
Aaron Sherrill is a Senior Analyst for 451 Research covering emerging trends, innovation