BENGALURU — Engineer.ai, a start-up that has developed the human-assisted AI platform which helps companies build and operate custom-made software, has raised Series A funding of $29.5 million, led by Lakestar and Jungle Ventures with participation from Softbank’s DeepCore.

Its solution allows people -- even those without technical skills -- to get customised apps built for Android, iOS and other platforms. Its platform combines AI with crowdsourced teams of designers and developers to build bespoke digital products at — the company claims — twice the speed and less than a third of the cost of traditional software development.

Bespoke software also known as custom software or tailor-made software is software that is specially developed for some specific organization or other user. As such, it can be contrasted with the use of software packages developed for the mass market, such as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, or existing free software packages.

Since custom software is developed for a single customer it can accommodate that customer's particular preferences and expectations.

Large companies commonly use custom software for critical functions, including content management, inventory management, customer management, human resource management, or otherwise to fill the gaps present in the existing software packages. Often such software is legacy software, developed before COTS or free software packages offering the required functionality became available.

According to its co-founders, Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Dhoot, Engineer.ai is on a mission to turn ideas into developed products for everyone. Whether you want to build something new or are already operating on the cloud, Engineer.ai empowers a single user to achieve more by doing less using bespoke software.

Sachin Dev Duggal, said in a statement: “We created Engineer.ai so that everyone can build an idea without learning to code. This investment round validates our approach of making bespoke software effortless. The capital comes at a time of rapid growth and will propel the platform into the mainstream, allowing our product, “Builder” to open the door for entire categories of companies that could not consider it before.”

“At a certain level we compete with Gigster, albeit we have really taken a very different approach (assembly line and buying excess capacity from over 100 Dev shops in 10 time zones) whereas they are a modern-day consulting shop. This means we have massive scale with access to 32,000 developers and designers, we have over 500 building blocks that save our customers paying for features (code and designs) that we have already done. The dev shops thus also don’t compete with us as we buy capacity from them and will soon be offering them a way to partner on go-to market.”

Amit Anand, co-founder and managing partner at Jungle Ventures, is reported to have said in a tech portal, Techcrunch, : “We’re believers in Engineer.ai’s total ecosystem; making bespoke software like the iPhone with aftercare and a marketplace for all recurring services.”

“Software is the centre of every business today and the market has been waiting for a solution that eliminates technical barriers to build software so that everyone can engage in the new economy,” said Manu Gupta, partner at Lakestar. “By creating an AI-powered assembly line combined with the best global human talent, Engineer.ai’s Builder bridges the gap between an idea and a software product to enable it.”

Out of the 32,000 engineers right now, 10,000 are from India. “This will go up to 250,000 engineers from India within 24 months,” said Engineer.ai in a statement.

The company’s newly launched product called 'Builder' is an AI-powered software assembly line that breaks projects into small building blocks of re-usable features that are customised by engineers for bespoke software “at a fraction of the price and time of traditional development”, it claims.

Engineer.ai also provides fully integrated service to its customers from extended warranty via BuilderCare to the CloudOps marketplace that provides access to everything the software might need, including hosting, micro services and marketing.

The company said that it has a total customer base of over 5,000, of which 264 are enterprise customers and the rest are SMBs.

Engineer.Ai ’s customers are spread across segments like ecommerce and m-commerce platforms, to social apps, who have used Builder to create products like BBC, Virgin, amongst many others.v

“The APAC region mainly India, MENA, South East Asia including China are key focus areas for Engineer.Ai to expand their presence into, building a stronger base for all Builder offerings,” it said.

Engineer.ai has bootstrapped to $24 million in revenue. The company is set to cross the $100 million revenue mark before the end of 2020.

The current headcount in the company is 150 across the globe, and the company claimed that it will double this to 300 by June 2019.

It has a presence globally includes offices in Los Angeles, London, Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Tokyo.

— Sufia Tippu is a freelance tech journalist based in India contributing to EE Times India