San Francisco-based startup Automat (formerly Lasso) announced today that it has raised $3.75 million in seed funding to further develop its intelligent workflow automation platform. The round was led by Initialized Capital, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, Schox, Goodwater, and others.
Automat aims to simplify the process of building software robots known as robotic process automation (RPA). Its platform allows users to automate repetitive tasks and workflows by providing video demonstrations or plain text descriptions. Automat's technology, powered by generative AI, can understand these instructions and automatically generate automations. This is a boon for both enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses that might not have dedicated automation teams.
The platform uses generative AI to integrate a range of automation techniques such as natural language processing, text generation, and image recognition, which eliminates the need for costly in-house engineering teams. This approach promises to substantially reduce the time and cost of implementing RPA, compared to traditional methods that require expensive licenses and engineering resources. Automat effectively offers RPA-as-a-service, handling the entire process of building, deploying, and maintaining automations for enterprise customers.
"Automat is a clear example of how AI will transform daily operations for Enterprise and SMBs, empowering human teams to focus on important work while letting machines take on repetitive tasks," said Brett Gibson, managing partner at Initialized Capital, lead investor in the round.
The high costs associated with existing RPA tools—ranging from steep licensing fees to the salaries of in-house engineers—have been prohibitive for many businesses. Taylor Lint, CEO of CRM management company Swantide, has found a solution in Automat. According to Lint, the platform has allowed them to fast-track their roadmap, bridging gaps where APIs were unavailable without incurring the additional cost of engineering time.
"Rather than spending expensive engineering time building and maintaining RPAs, Automat handles that for us," said Taylor Lint, CEO of Swantide.
Automat was founded earlier this year by ex-Googlers Gautam Bose and Lucas Ochoa. In early 2020, they were part of a team at Google that was assigned to explore potential consumer uses for LaMDA, Google's large language model. During this time, they built over 50 prototype demonstrations showcasing how LaMDA's natural language capabilities could be integrated into various Google products and applications. Additionally, the pair worked on products like AI Test Kitchen, Teachable Machine, Google Pixel Buds Pro.
The new funding will support Automat's continued platform development and expansion of its automation library. While enterprise-level solutions are Automat's current focus, the company has broader ambitions.
"We imagine these same tools, if built thoughtfully, will work well with human or AI agent instruction and orchestration," the founders said. "We're laying the groundwork for a future where anyone can automate the tedium of the work they do."