15 VC-backed bot startups have raised their first VC rounds so far this year.

Advances in artificial intelligence algorithms have put chatbots and voice assistants in the spotlight, with investor interest in the space increasing in recent months.

Just this month, as of 7/28/2016, 7 bot-focused startups — including stealth startup Begin and recruitment bot Wade & Wendy — raised their first VC funding.

General Catalyst Partners backed 3 bot startups this year: Begin and Butter.ai, both still in stealth mode; and Growbot, an employee accomplishments tracker for Slack.

Previously, General Catalyst had funded Digit — a bot that tracks your spending — and Angel.ai (f.k.a. GoButler) in 2015.

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Slack partnered with Accel, Index Ventures, KPCB, Social Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Spark Capital to fund several startups developing bot products for Slack customers. The portfolio companies in the $80M fund include bots like Awesome.ai, Begin, along with CRM bot Sudo.

Betaworks, which backed localized weather bot Poncho and chatbot for teams Howdy, announced a “botcamp”, a 10-week mentorship program for bot builders, sponsored by KPCB, General Catalyst, Atomico, RRE, and Breaking News.

Horizon Ventures backed Viv Labs, which recently demoed its Siri-like intelligent voice interface, and Meekan, a smart-scheduling assistant which was acquired by Doodle last quarter (not shown on the timeline below as it does not include exited companies).

Digit, which raised a Series B round this month from investors including Baseline Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Google Ventures, is the most well-funded startup on the timeline below, which includes 30 bot startups to receive VC backing since 2014. Scheduling assistant X.ai ranked second in terms of funding, and is backed by investors including Lerer Hippeau Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Two Sigma Ventures.

The timeline below only includes companies primarily focused on a bot. It also excludes APIs and bot development platforms like Myra Labs and GupShup.

bots_timeline_20160803

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