Naperville Product Hunt winner raises $700k for user friendly AI

by Andreas Rekdal
December 18, 2015

Have you ever asked a really stupid question on a customer service chatline, only to have the service rep direct you to a simple solution listed on the company’s FAQ page?

Next time that happens you’ll have no need to be embarrassed, because the person on the other end will be a robot — if Motion AI founder David Nelson gets his way.

This week, his company announced it raised $700,000 in a 10 day seed round.

Motion AI brands itself as the “UI for AI,” and focuses on making visual drag and drop interfaces for building and training AI robots. The goal is to enable businesses in a variety of industries the ability to make meaningful use of artificial intelligence without having to do any advanced coding.

“In the field of AI, the thing I noticed the most was that it’s very complex, and it’s very complicated for companies to sort through how they can piece things together,” said Nelson.

He has had a longstanding fascination with AI, going back to age nine when he set up his first IRC server and experimented with installing and configuring various chatbots. Since then, there’s been a tremendous amount of development in the field — in part driven by the exponential growth of computing power available to researchers, corporations, and hobbyists alike.

In Nelson’s view, AI technology has finally matured to the point where it’s ready for mass market adoption, leaving a window of opportunity for companies like his. So far, however, he’s not aware of any competitors with a similar user friendly approach.

One major use case for Motion AI’s technology is filtering of customer service inquiries. For many consumer facing companies, a large portion of these inquiries are resolved by referring to solutions already listed on the company’s FAQ page. By setting up sophisticated AIs to resolve these issues while passing more complicated inquiries on to human customer service reps, companies will be able to cut overhead costs and make employees’ jobs less repetitive.

Since customers will be setting up and training their own AIs, the overhead cost of adding more clients will be relatively small, allowing the company to charge on a per-message basis, lowering the barrier of entry. In practical terms, this means Motion AI could be just as viable a solution for a local pizzeria that wants to let customers order a few hundred pizzas a week by text message as Fortune 500 companies looking to streamline their customer service operations.

A full stack developer and Motion AI’s only employee to date, Nelson took the engineering lead on the project with some help from contractors to get a prototype ready for last month’s Product Hunt. He’ll use his new funding to expand his team, and is already advertising for another developer position. Having originally sought $350,000 to hire two additional team members, Motion AI will now be able to grow his company faster than originally planned.

“Artificial intelligence is a really exciting technology and space right now, but people are still figuring out how to use it to automate and simplify business processes. Motion AI has figured that out and built up a diverse set of use cases that makes them interesting across dozens of industries. We’re excited to be in on the ground floor with David on this, and help Motion AI grow,” said Hyde Park Angels Deal Lead, Kristopher Kubicki, in a statement.

At age 22, Nelson has already founded two other startups: FanRx, a social media as a service (SaaS) company which at its peak had 20 million active users monthly; and a music streaming app called “Muziic,” which he created at age 15.

Image via Motion AI.

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Jobs at Motion AI, Inc.

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