Why we invested in OpenDialog?
By Kibriya Rahman
At AlbionVC we believe in the power of relationships, and it’s not uncommon for us to spend several years getting to know founders before investing and partnering alongside them. We first got to know Terry Walby during his journey in building Thoughtonomy, which was eventually acquired by Blue Prism for $100m. We couldn’t wait to learn more when we found out that Terry had partnered with Dean and Ron to launch their next business OpenDialog, and today we are delighted to announce that we have led the recent Series A investment.
A lot has been written about the generative AI revolution, which promises to represent a paradigm shift in the way we live, work and play. Conversational AI technology, grounded in large language models (LLMs), natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML) and natural language generation (NLG), enables a new form of communication between computers and humans. Businesses around the world have realised that they can now provide customers with instantaneous and personalised interactions in unprecedented ways,through chatbots, online platforms and applications.
Yet in regulated markets such as insurance and healthcare, compliance with industry regulations is non-negotiable for AI solutions. Accuracy and auditability of generated responses, along with securing patient or customer data, are paramount. Unfortunately, creating in-house solutions or using existing off-the-shelf solutions, often requires technical expertise to handle data orchestration, design conversational flows, train models, and craft a user experience. This leaves a segment of the market underserved, unable to unlock the transformative potential of generative AI in customer interactions.
Enter OpenDialog – a platform to allow organisations to create and deploy AI powered chatbots and virtual assistants in a no-code, compliant environment for conversational experiences with customers and employees. It serves companies operating in highly regulated industries (such as healthcare and financial services), who have a need for automated and compliant support, but do not have the capability to build this themselves.
The technology is deeply differentiated, which allows OpenDialog to stand out in a seemingly noisy market. Unlike traditional chatbots that follow ‘decision tree-logic’, funnelling users down predefined paths of conversation, OpenDialog adopts a unique ‘context-first’ approach. This allows it to better understand scenarios and conversational structure, which results in a much smoother and natural user experience.
Moreover, OpenDialog has a unique conversational orchestration layer positioned between the end communication channel and the foundational language models. This layer enables the use of customised data and models while ensuring the appropriate product guardrails are in place. What’s more, the technology is designed to be deployed in a no-code manner, empowering non-technical users to create and interact with conversational chatbots effortlessly.
With first-hand experience in building a leader in the adjacent cloud RPA sector, the team has already delivered a phenomenal level of revenue growth. Early clients in the insurance and healthcare sectors are already delighting their customers with the benefits of conversational AI, and the industry has taken notice: OpenDialog recently secured the ‘Emerging Technology of the Year’ at the UK IT awards. The first of many, no doubt!
Our investment into OpenDialog reflects AlbionVC’s focus on backing category-leading software companies leveraging new technologies to transform industries. It proudly joins the ranks of our other AI/ML investments including Quantexa, Humanloop, Seldon, Imandra, Speechmatics, Diffblue, and Hazy.