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Technology & Entrepreneurship

San Antonio Artificial Intelligence Company Raises $1.5 Million

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FunnelAI staff

A San Antonio tech startup has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. FunnelAI announced the seed-round success Wednesday morning. FunnelAI uses artificial intelligence to connect car sellers with people searching for cars online.

Using complex algorithms, their software offers ad targeting and other customer development tools. It develops leads by scouring the web from social media to car enthusiast forums. When someone posts about a specific car or asks for recommendations, the company’s app grabs it and displays it for FunnelAI customers, who can respond through company software directly to the post.

“I know there are people who would jump in and help out, but why not the dealers themselves?” said Sridhar Kamma, FunnelAI CEO. “I know they want to sell a car but also they’re more knowledgeable.”

The two-year old company was founded by brother/sister founders Sridhar and Suja Kamma. It relocated to San Antonio from Austin in June 2017. It joined San Antonio’s RealCo Accelerator program, which provides mentorship and funding for company equity. It has grown since that move and currently has eight employees and six job openings.

“Being in San Antonio, from a talent perspective, it’s been challenging,” Kamma said. “But the way we are trying to overcome that is by working with UTSA, hiring their students.”

The company currently employs two UTSA grads and was praised Tuesday by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff for continuing to hire locally and develop the skills of its workforce.  

Bexar County Commissioners voted Tuesday to give the company $31,000 to fund 31 new employees over two years — or $1,000 per employee — growing the company from its current eight. County officials said half the positions would pay more than $50,000 and the other half would pay over $70,000.

The funding round was led by Active Capital, a San Antonio-based venture capital fund. Geekdom Fund, which had previously invested $10,000 in the company, is also part of the round along with Europe-based retail sector specialist True.

“Everybody’s in business to find new customers,” said Pat Matthews, CEO of Active Capital. Matthews said the handful of ways people are doing that — ads with Google, Facebook and Amazon — are good but FunnelAI is doing something new by prospecting around those established methods.

“You know, they’re really building a sales and marketing platform that can be really used in any industry out there,” he said.

The software as a service company topped $1 million in annual recurring revenue last November. That, along with their regular monthly profit and fiscally prudent leadership, made the decision to invest pre-seed and now lead this round much easier.

Paul Flahive can be reached via email Paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive.