Sean Thompson was frustrated with how much time it took to work with a line-of-business system like Salesforce. This problem became amplified even more when he tried to accomplish tasks on his smartphone.
He wanted something more efficient, something that would save him time. So for the past 14 months, the nine-year Microsoft vet and his co-founder Bill Baker found a way to speed up that process by using Natural User Interface and Artificial Intelligence together.
Today marks the culmination of all that work with the official launch of Nuiku, a Bellevue-based startup that also announced the closure of a $1.6 million seed round from several notable local investors from companies like Avvo, Contour, Smartsheet and Walmart.
Nuiku’s ultimate goal is to build apps that are virtual assistants for specific roles — think Siri on steroids, but for business tasks specifically. Its first app, currently still in beta, is a sales assistant that is already being tested by more than 25 companies.
Here’s how the technology behind Nuiku works. When a user asks for something, Nuiku applies a powerful patent-pending integration engine that connects voice commands with information the user has already updated in the back-end. Then, through an AI engine, Nuiku analyzes the command and ideally performs an action based on the request.
Nuiku, designed to work with Salesforce.com initially, also takes it a step further and can learn based on the data being used. It can the begin to prompt, remind and suggest actions to the user the more he or she uses the app.
“Current virtual assistants and NLP technologies, like Siri, are great for simple actions such as getting directions to the nearest coffee shop, but they cannot keep up with the demands of today’s working professionals,” Thompson said in a statement.
Investors in Nuiku, which employs six, include Mark Britton, CEO Avvo and former EVP of Expedia; Barry Padgett, EVP of Concour; Brent Frei, Chairman at Smartsheet; Vikram Chalana, Founder of Winshuttle; and Brian Roberts, Senior VP of Walmart e-Commerce.