Meeting Jasmine, co-founder of Recast.AI, STATION F’s first ever exit
Just 6 months after STATION F opened its doors, we are thrilled to share the news of our very first exit, Recast.AI acquired by SAP. Recast.AI is part of Microsoft’s AI Factory at STATION F, one of our 30 startup programs, which focuses on artificial intelligence companies.
Started in 2015 and onboarded at STATION F right after our opening in July 2017, Recast.AI has shown an impressive growth path. What’s even more impressive is the team behind the product (42 alumni! Yeay!), and the story that led them to this exit. We were lucky to share a conversation with Recast.AI’s co-founder, Jasmine. Let’s dive in!
First off, what is Recast.AI?
“Recast.AI is a French artificial intelligence startup. We develop a natural language processing (NLP) technology that allows machines to understand human language. This technology allows the creation of conversational automated agents, usually called chatbots.
We put this technology at the disposal of developers through a collaborative platform where they can train, build, connect and monitor chatbots.
“For corporations, we offer off-the-shelf customer support bots to companies in the telecommunications, banking and insurance sector. Such clients often go for use cases that automate order tracking, invoice management, personal account updates, and other small bits of customer experience.
Recast.AI was founded in 2015 by myself, Jasmine Anteunis, Julien Blancher, Patrick Joubert et Paul Renvoisé. Patrick is a successful entrepreneur and Paul, Julien, and I come from the first promotion of 42. After the launch of a beta in February 2016, a seed funding in June 2016, more than 10 corporate clients in November 2016, our integration at STATION F among Microsoft’s leading AI startups in August 2017 and the opening of offices in San Francisco in November 2017, we are today a team of 25 people.
- 2 years of existence
- Seed funding in June 2016
- 25-people team
On the 22nd of January 2018, we joined the SAP family! This acquisition is the result of aligned technological and business visions, and will allow us to lead the integration of conversational technologies worldwide.”
You studied Fine Arts and now you’re co-founder of an AI startup: seriously, what’s your story?
“That raises eyebrows for sure! Yes, before 42, I spent three years at les Beaux-Arts. By the time I graduated, 42 was opening for its first year. I was really intrigued by the pedagogy, the atmosphere and the teaching philosophy, so I decided to give it a go. After the piscine, I was admitted, and since then I haven’t stopped coding!
All in all, art and code are very similar: both are a medium that allows you to create something from scratch, and that is something I love doing.
I was already friends with Paul and Julien before the Recast.AI adventure. We met Patrick through the 42 staff, who introduced us.”
What are the key milestones you went through since joining the A.I Factory at STATION F?
“Joining Microsoft as the leading startup of their AI program has been wonderful! It gave us access to their mentoring on technical, business or marketing aspects. The Microsoft team at STATION F is available everyday and always ready to help with the organization of our next event or to spread out news.
With their help, we were able to organize monthly workshops to provide excellent assistance for the developers of our community, to launch our newest major feature called Bot Skills and to reach out to a broader audience, and much more. And simply by being at STATION F, we were able to connect in person with some of our existing users and meet new ones!”
“Today, more than 30,000+ developers have build 50,000+ bots on Recast.AI, and much of that growth comes from the synergies between STATION F, Microsoft and Recast.AI.”
Why does this acquisition make sense for your company now? Isn’t it early?
“SAP is the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software and helps companies of all sizes to run better and become digital businesses. With offices in 180 countries, SAP enables more than 365,000 customers worldwide in business and the public sector to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.
Joining forces with the world’s leading software provider makes a great deal of sense. In two years, our technology has reached the top of the industry (as benchmarked by Andreessen Horowitz). We’ve established ourselves as a leader in conversational AI for customer service. Now, the strong expertise of SAP will allow us to fasten and strengthen our existing products and provide them at a greater scale.”
Everyone seems to talk about chatbots: what are the key innovations and startups you are excited about?
“The world we live in is filled with amazing innovations and companies. I particularly like Crisp, a customer support chat software. Open API, strong hands-on features, a focus for small to medium companies, all led by a great team: I find their approach very relatable and efficient.
I’m also excited to see the future of IoT combined with AI, whether it’s in specific hubs (Alexa, Google Home, etc) or integrated in all our appliances. Conversational will be a big part of that!”