All posts tagged: automate

Dili wants to automate due diligence with AI

Dili wants to automate due diligence with AI

Stephanie Song, formerly on the corporate development and ventures team at Coinbase, was often frustrated by the volume of due diligence tasks she and her team had to complete on a daily basis. “Analysts burn the midnight oil working hundreds of hours doing the work that nobody wants to do,” Song told TechCrunch in an email interview. “At the same time, funds are deploying less capital and looking for ways to make their teams more efficient while reducing operating costs.” Inspired to find a better way, Song teamed up with Brian Fernandez and Anand Chaturvedi, two ex-Coinbase colleagues, to launch Dili (not to be confused by the capital of East Timor), a platform that attempts to automate key investment due diligence and portfolio management steps for private equity and VC firms using AI. Dili, a Y Combinator graduate, has raised $3.6 million in venture funding to date from backers including Allianz Strategic Investments, Rebel Fund, Singularity Capital, Corenest, Decacorn, Pioneer Fund, NVO Capital, Amino Capital, Rocketship VC, Hi2 Ventures, Gaingels and Hyper Ventures. “[AI] affects …

IBM says generative AI can help automate business actions

IBM says generative AI can help automate business actions

SOPA Images/Contributor/Getty Images A big focus of enterprise work these days is to automate human tasks for greater efficiency. Computer giant IBM asks in its most recent research whether generative artificial intelligence (AI), such as large language models (LLMs), can be a stepping stone to automation. Called “SNAP”, IBM’s proposed software framework trains an LLM to generate a prediction of the next action to take place in a business process given all of the events that have come before. Those predictions, in turn, can serve as suggestions for what steps a business can take.  Also: Can ChatGPT predict the future? Training AI to figure out what happens next “SNAP can improve the next activity prediction performance for various BPM [business process management] datasets,” write Alon Oved and colleagues at IBM Research in a new paper, SNAP: Semantic Stories for Next Activity Prediction, published this week on the arXiv pre-print server.  IBM’s work is just one example of a trend toward using LLMs to try to predict a next event or action in a series. Scholars have been …

AI costs too much to automate vision-related jobs – for now

AI costs too much to automate vision-related jobs – for now

AI has impressive powers but it is still an expensive option for some tasks Yuichiro Chino/Moment RF/Getty Images Artificial intelligence may be coming for many people’s jobs according to some Fortune 500 CEOs and Silicon Valley leaders – but AI computer vision technologies are not yet cheap enough to make them worthwhile for most US businesses today. The finding comes from a study of human work – specifically tasks involving vision – that is exposed to the risk of machine automation. In the study, researchers focused on whether vision tasks included in various human jobs are economically worth replacing using existing AI computer vision. “There are lots of tasks that you can imagine AI applying to, but actually cost-wise you just wouldn’t want to do it,” says Neil Thompson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-author of the study, which was published today as a working paper. Thompson and his colleagues identified 414 vision tasks in US job categories that could potentially be automated by existing AI technology. These jobs included retail store supervisors who …

Laredo wants to use GenAI to automate dev work

Laredo wants to use GenAI to automate dev work

Developers are embracing AI — some surveys suggests, at least. The Q&A site Stack Overflow polled devs on their attitudes toward code-generating AI tools and found that the vast majority were quite positive. Seventy-seven percent of developers feel favorably about using AI in their workflows, per the survey — citing benefits like increased productivity and faster learning. GitHub Copilot appears to be gaining traction where it concerns AI-powered tools, and to a lesser extent Amazon CodeWhisperer. But in spite of tech giants’ efforts to corner the nascent space, entrepreneurs are launching their own takes. Take for example Laredo Labs, a startup developing an AI-driven platform for code generation. Leveraging an AI model trained on data from around a hundred million software projects, Laredo writes code based on high-level natural language commands — writing, editing and deleting code to accomplish dev tasks while documenting progress. Laredo was co-founded in 2022 by Mark Gabel and Daniel Lord. Gabel was previously the chief scientist at Viv Labs, which Samsung acquired in 2016 to beef up its Bixby voice …

Kognitos raises M to help businesses automate back-office processes

Kognitos raises $35M to help businesses automate back-office processes

Businesses will never not (forgive the double negative) push to improve efficiency. It’s their commercial imperative. Sometimes, that takes the form of budget cuts. Other times, it’s more drastic — e.g. layoffs or hiring freezes. But Binny Gill, the co-founder of Kognitos, makes the case that companies can have their cake and eat it too — eliminating inefficiencies without having to make tough choices. How? By automating business processes — which, wouldn’t you know, happens to be Kognitos’ core function. “The pandemic created widespread ripple effects on the supply chain that caused many enterprises to grapple with limited resources, surging costs and constrained work environments,” Gill said. “This forced many organizations to take a long, hard look at the existing inefficiencies in their business processes, and recognize the importance of embracing new technology — including the power of AI, in improving productivity, agility and resilience.” Wait, you might say — doesn’t automation oftentimes eliminate jobs? Well, yes. A 2016 study predicted that robotic process automation (RPA), a type of automation that leverages software “bots” to …

Codegen raises new cash to automate software engineering tasks

Codegen raises new cash to automate software engineering tasks

Jay Hack, an AI researcher with a background in natural language processing and computer vision, came to the realization several years ago that large language models (LLMs) — think OpenAI’s GPT-4 or ChatGPT — have the potential to make developers more productive by translating natural language requests into code. After working at Palantir as a machine learning engineer and building and selling Mira, an AI-powered shopping startup for cosmetics, Hack began experimenting with LLMs to execute pull requests — the process of merging new code changes with main project repositories. With the help of a small team, Hack slowly expanded these experiments into a platform, Codegen, that attempts to automate as many mundane, repetitive software engineering tasks as possible leveraging LLMs. “Codegen automates the menial labor out of software engineering by empowering AI agents to ship code,” Hack told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The platform enables companies to move significantly quicker and eliminates costs from tech debt and maintenance, allowing companies to focus on product innovation.” So, one might wonder, what sets Codegen apart …

Factory wants to use AI to automate the software dev lifecycle

Factory wants to use AI to automate the software dev lifecycle

Developer velocity, the speed at which an organization ships code, is often impacted by necessary but lengthy processes like code review, writing documentation and testing. Inefficiencies threaten to make theses processes even longer. According to one source, developers waste 17.3 hours per week due to technical debt and bad — i.e. nonfunctional — code. Machine learning Ph.D. Matan Grinberg and Eno Reyes, previously a data scientist at Hugging Face and Microsoft, thought that there had to be a better way. During a Hackathon in San Francisco, Grinberg and Reyes built a platform that could autonomously solve simple coding problems — a platform that they later came to believe had commercial potential. After the hackathon, the pair expanded the platform to handle more software development tasks and founded a company, Factory, to monetize what they’d built. “Factory’s mission is to bring autonomy to software engineering,” Grinberg told TechCrunch in an email interview. “More concretely, Factory helps large engineering organizations automate parts of their software development lifecycle via autonomous, AI-powered systems.” Factory’s systems — which Grinberg calls …

Sweep aims to automate basic dev tasks using large language models

Sweep aims to automate basic dev tasks using large language models

Developers spend a lot of time on mundane, repetitive tasks — and surprisingly little on actual coding. In Stack Overflow’s 2022 developer survey, 63% of respondents said that they devote more than 30 minutes a day searching for answers or solutions to problems — which adds up to between 333 to 651 hours of time lost per week across a team of 50 developers. A separate poll from Propeller Insights and Rollbar found that over a third of developers spend around a quarter of their time fixing bugs, with slightly more than a quarter (26%) setting aside up to half their time fixing bugs. The trend frustrated William Zeng and Kevin Lu. So earlier this year, they — both veterans of Roblox, the video-game-turned-social-network — created a platform called Sweep to autonomously handle dev tasks like high-level debugging. “We started Sweep after working at Roblox together and constantly dealing with software chores we knew could be automated with AI,” Zeng, Sweep’s CEO, told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Sweep is like an AI-powered junior dev …

WorkMagic wants to automate all the marketing tasks for Shopify sellers

WorkMagic wants to automate all the marketing tasks for Shopify sellers

There’s no shortage of startups trying to automate marketing tasks by using generative AI. For WorkMagic, the target users are the millions of small-scale Shopify sellers who it believes can benefit immensely from cost savings in their marketing efforts. Founded in June, WorkMagic offers a full-stack platform that handles everything from image and copy generation to campaign management and attribution analytics. Having previously held the position of head of growth at TikTok Ads, WorkMagic’s co-founder and CEO Lidong Yang is well acquainted with the pain points of independent e-commerce sellers. “A skincare shop, operated by four to five people, typically would have to spend an entire month shooting Black Friday photos and spend $10,000-20,000 on it. That work can now be completely done by our platform,” Yang told TechCrunch. We’ve covered similar tools like ZMO.ai, which also helps users generate marketing materials by feeding prompts to an AI model. But Yang said his company differentiates by also automating attribution, the process in advertising that measures how marketing tactics contribute to conversion and sales. Once users …

Flanks grabs additional capital to automate wealth services in Europe

Flanks grabs additional capital to automate wealth services in Europe

Flanks, which has built an API for automated wealth services, secured $8 million in Series A capital to democratize access to wealth management across Europe. Earlybird Venture Capital led the round and was joined by existing investors JME Ventures and 4Founders Capital. Scalapay co-founder Raffaele Terrone and Upvest co-founder and CEO Martin Kassing supported the round as angel investors. The Barcelona-based company was founded in 2019 by software engineers Joaquim de la Cruz and Sergi Lao and private banking executive Álvaro Morales. Their vision was to digitize global wealth data across custodians and gather it under one API so that clients can have a complete view of their investment portfolio in real time and make more intelligent investment decisions. Flanks, whose clients span from large financial institutions to family offices to independent financial advisors, is leveraging the regulatory shift going on in Europe around open banking. More recent proposed legislation, including the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID III), is focusing on open finance to establish rights and obligations to manage financial data access beyond …