CEO and co-founder Ryan Millner (left) and co-founder Ashwin Singhania. (Unwrap Photo)
The news: Unwrap, an AI-powered natural language processor that aggregates and analyzes user feedback, raised $3 million after going through the incubator program at Seattle’s Allen Institute for AI (AI2).
The founders: As former product managers at Amazon Alexa’s engineering department, Unwrap co-founders Ryan Millner and Ashwin Singhania spent hours each month poring over Reddit comments and user review forums to find actionable insights to improve Alexa. However, they found the task tedious and inefficient, so they decided to leave Amazon to build software that would automate the process. The duo first met as early employees and leaders at Graphiq, a startup that got acquired by Amazon Alexa in 2017.
The tech: The best way to understand Unwrap’s product is to put yourself in the shoes of a product manager at a large tech company. That employee might be inundated with hundreds of thousands of pieces of user feedback from a variety of channels including app store reviews or social media posts. Unwrap aggregates that data and uses natural language processing, which describes AI-powered software that helps computers interpret human language, to extract the most relevant and useful nuggets of information. The manager can then use that data to identify certain ways to improve their product or service.
The customers: Unwrap says it is mostly working with consumer-facing businesses that receive high volumes of user feedback. It currently has between five and 10 paying customers, Millner told GeekWire in an email.
The team: The startup has five employees, with most based near the company’s headquarters in Santa Barbara, Calif. Part of the proceeds from the seed funding will go toward hiring more employees.
The competition: Unwrap is not the only company creating AI-powered tools to automate and segment user feedback data. San Francisco-based Enterpret, for example, launched an AI-powered analytics platform for user feedback, and it raised $4.3 million in March. And Oakland-based Viable, which also organizes user feedback using NLP tools, raised $5 million in May.
Millner says Unwrap is differentiated from its competitors because of its strong “founder-market fit.” He says both he and Singhania understand the needs of their customer because they both were in a position where they would have been Unwrap customers. He added that their engineering experience at Amazon, along with the backing and resources of Ai2, will help them build the “best-in-class” NLP software.
The funders: The funding comes from Seattle-based Cercano Management (formerly Vulcan), AI2, and the founders of DoubleClick and Postscript. The startup did not reveal its valuation.