How we make money

Our mission is to empower all makers to build AI assistants that work for everyone.

To make that happen, our tools have to be accessible to all users, and all users should have full control over their data.

We strongly believe that creating a lasting company is key to be able to maintain the code we’ve already shipped, and invest in creating new tools for everyone to use. To do that, we need a sustainable business model.

There are many ways to build companies around open source projects. We don’t think that a pure services business gets us to the scale we need to build the standard infrastructure layer for conversational AI. After first open sourcing Rasa NLU, we decided on an “open core” business model. Open core means we sell products on top of the open source, and focus on making our products better instead of relying on support and consulting to make money.

We aim to have fair and transparent pricing that gives everyone in the community the ability to invest in and support the future of Rasa.

Fair

Every commercial open source company is different and has to decide what works best for their products. Rasa currently has products at three different “prices”:

  1. Open source (Apache 2.0)
  2. $0, but proprietary code
  3. Paid

We aim to have a fair split of features between the three. So, what’s fair? In the end, it is a combination of the value users get out of the product and the resources they have.

While a developer working on a hobby project or an NGO might get a lot of value from Rasa, they have fewer resources than a big company that saves significant costs by using Rasa. So we want the former to invest in Rasa by using it and providing feedback to improve the product, while the latter also invests by utilizing our paid product.

Transparent

In the past, there’s been debate about commercial open source companies, the licenses they chose and what features are proprietary. It should always be obvious to a developer when they are using open source versus proprietary code. \

For example, we keep the documentation and install packages between open source and proprietary code separate, so that if you don’t want to use the latter, that doesn’t require any mental effort.

$0 is a price point accessible to everyone. The more people use the product, the better it gets through feedback from the community. More edge cases get caught, more beta testers try out new features, and more contextual assistants get built.

Community FTW

We know that it is not always easy to build a company around an open source project. We are committed to a strong open source foundation, community, and applied research. Conversational AI is hard and we believe that it will take a combined community effort to make it work for everyone - and we think that with our business model, we’re all on the same page to make it happen. Join our community!