Companies in the sector
Of the total number of companies analysed, we have captured almost 200 companies engaged in NLP. The years 2011 and 2012 have been the peak years with almost 25 new companies in the latter year and 2013 has seen a reduction in new companies. The sector is not so much at a time when new companies are starting up, but rather when those already established are attractive to investors and, once they have received funding, they are looking for a path to growth.
Most active sectors
The spectrum of sectors where NLP is applied is very broad. The most common are software, analytics and web, where the focus has been on better understanding the content and communications generated with customers. The standard bearer of this trend is Clarabridge which offers customer experience management software, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Reston (USA) raised 80M$ last year.
"We are however in a year where large investment (last year there was an increase in funding rounds of 73%) is enabling technology and product development and in the coming years the applications and sectors in which natural language is applied are expected to increase" says Diego Gutierrez of Abra-Invest.
Evolution of operations per year
Since 2011, the number of investment rounds in companies working in the NLP field has been growing. 2013 has been the highest point with 71 different deals and 2014 continues to mark very high levels.
Companies that have received the most rounds
The ranking of companies that have convinced investors the most is made up of 3 companies: Netbase solutions, Narrative science, Hakia. Each of them has completed 6 rounds of investment. San Francisco-based Netbase solutions received the first round of venture capital is in 2005 and this summer, in July 2014, it received the last one. The company is one of the leaders in the application of NLP to improve customer relations.
There are 6 companies that have exceeded 40M$ of cumulative investment. These include Clarabridge and the aforementioned Netbase solutions.
Acquisitions in the sector
After a few years in which purchases in the sector had dropped considerably (from 12 in 2010 to 1 in 2013) it seems that in 2014 there has been a revival and so far this year there have been a total of 7 purchases in the sector.
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