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Sherpa, a Spanish-language AI-based personal assistant, raises $6.5M

TechCrunch TechCrunch 25/05/2016 Ingrid Lunden

We’ve seen a big rise of apps and bots, and a lot of them have something in common besides being based on artificial intelligence and machine learning: they are written for English-speaking users. Now one of the more interesting personal assistant apps written primarily for Spanish speakers is announcing funding. Sherpa, a personal assistant app based out of Spain, has raised $6.5 million in a Series A round.

Xabi Uribe- Etxebarria, the founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that the funding will be used to continue building out more functionality in the app, as well as on more hires and to expand the reach of the app as it gears up for a much bigger Series B and expansion to other languages like English.

Sherpa is filling an interesting niche in the market that most English speakers might not even realise exists: many of the interesting evolutions in AI have been focused on English applications, leaving large swathes of the non-English speaking world without the same kinds of services. Uribe- Etxebarria notes that while some apps do have Spanish versions they are basic.

“Google Now, for instance, has Spanish but in a limited version, and I’ve always said Siri is not competitive with what we are trying to do,” he said. “We are trying to provide services like news, movie and TV show listings, and sports results that users might like and based on their preferences. We want to know the weather and tell you what to wear.” 

Today, the company only offers its app in Spain. It’s still ad-free and free to use while Sherpa looks for more inspiration — but someday don’t be surprised to see among suggestions of places to eat, a possible ad for a specific restaurant.

The plan is to expand in the very near future to Latin America, which Sherpa plans to do by way of a partnership with Samsung that will see the handset giant preload the personal assistant on to all of Samsung’s smartphones in markets where Spanish is the main language.

Uribe- Etxebarria told me that the agreement with Samsung, which was signed last year and is so far only active in Spain, does not entail investment or any commercial agreement.

Investors in this round included Alma Mundi Innvierte Fund, FCRE, and unnamed private investors.

More to come.

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