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 maintaining the code we’ve already shipped and investing in 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.
Every commercial open source company is different and has to decide what works best for their products. Rasa offers products to support individual developers through Enterprises:
- Rasa Open Source: Free and open through Apache 2.0
- Rasa X: Free, but proprietary code
- Rasa Enterprise: 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 a non-profit organization 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.
Our philosophy around Rasa Enterprise is that it should include everything in Rasa Open Source and Rasa X, plus features that address the organizational complexity of a large enterprise, like role-based access control, SSO, and SLAs. Features that addresses technical complexity benefit everyone, and that’s why those features will always remain free in Rasa Open Source and Rasa X.
In the past, there’s been debate about commercial open source companies, the licenses they choose, 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, it 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.
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!