Our Investment In FortressIQ

Nakul Mandan
Dec 4, 2018 · 3 min read

We are entering a new age of enterprise automation powered by the advancements in AI. Software is now being used to recommend where to focus your sales efforts, predict which legal contracts are in conflict with each other, and which expense reports require more scrutiny. And while this automation has the potential to unlock huge gains in productivity, it also poses new questions and challenges. As enterprises automate an increasing number of tasks that were historically done by humans, the number of bots in large enterprises are quickly scaling to an unmanageable point. So how are organizations planning to manage these bots? How are they tracking whether these bots are actually doing the job as accurately or better than humans? How are organizations even deciding which processes to automate and which ones to not? Are we building systems that manage this digital workforce, similar to how we built frameworks to manage the human workforce?

Those are some of the questions that led us to our latest Series A investment: FortressIQ, a company that’s building the end-to-end governance layer to manage bots in the enterprise. FortressIQ announced its first application this morning which focuses on a key question that enterprises are asking themselves constantly: “Which processes can we automate?”. It’s an important question that organizations are willing to invest meaningful dollars addressing. In fact, for every $1 of annual recurring spend on automation, enterprises are spending $4–10 upfront with consulting organizations to figure out where automation can help them in the first place.

Enter FortressIQ, which leverages computer vision, NLP and sequence modeling to intelligently and comprehensively map an organization’s processes and recommend ones which can be automated. By automating process mapping and identification, FortressIQ dramatically reduces the time and cost associated with identification of automation opportunities.

But that’s just the starting point. In our very first meeting with Pankaj, the company’s founder and CEO, he talked about his vision to build the “Hire to retire platform for the digital bots workforce”. So why is this an important idea? AI based automation might be one of the biggest shifts that happens in the enterprise world over the next decade. But while we have seen the rise of AI tools to push automation of simple as well as complex tasks, we are yet to take steps to manage the rise of the bot ecosystem. With FortressIQ, Pankaj’ vision is to build the governance platform that enables organizations to identify processes that can be automated, monitor the bots deployed for such automation, and then decide on which bots to retain vs. retire based on their performance.

As we dove deeper into our conversation with Pankaj, it became clear that he has a massive vision for the enterprise automation space, and a deep understanding of the challenges enterprises are facing in their efforts towards digital transformation. And ultimately, the proof is in the pudding: when we heard customers give a resounding thumbs up to what Pankaj was building, we knew we had to be in business with him. This morning, FortressIQ announced its $12m Series A led by Lightspeed, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Pankaj and his team on this journey. We can’t wait for them to unfurl their vision for FortressIQ to the world.

Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed is a VC firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the enterprise and consumer sectors. Lightspeed has backed 350+ companies globally in the past two decades including Snap, Honest Co., GIPHY, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics and MuleSoft.

Nakul Mandan

Written by

VC at Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed is a VC firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the enterprise and consumer sectors. Lightspeed has backed 350+ companies globally in the past two decades including Snap, Honest Co., GIPHY, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics and MuleSoft.

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