New York-based startup LastMile AI announced it has secured $10 million in seed funding led by Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture capital arm. The funding round included notable participation from AME Cloud Ventures, Exceptional Capital, and Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch.
LastMile AI was founded by former Meta engineers Sarmad Qadri, Andrew Hoh, and Suyog Sonwalkar to streamline the development and deployment of AI applications. The startup aims to provide a unified platform that makes generative AI more accessible to software engineers and product teams beyond just AI researchers.
The company's seed funding comes amid surging interest in generative AI following public debuts of systems like DALL-E 2, ChatGPT, and Google's Bard. However, effectively leveraging these AI systems still requires specialized expertise. LastMile AI's platform aims to simplify the process so any engineering team can experiment with and integrate AI, whether using open-source or proprietary AI models.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Qadri emphasized that the company aims to create an integrated end-to-end developer platform that covers the entire AI application development process. He noted that currently the workflow for building AI applications is disjointed, requiring developers to piece together various separate tools and services. LastMile AI seeks to provide a unified solution to streamline AI development and remove this fragmentation.
LastMile AI's main product is called AI Workbooks, which provides a notebook interface for easily iterating on and evaluating different natural language and image generation models. The company plans to build out its platform with tools for deploying models into production applications and monitoring their ongoing performance.
This end-to-end approach could significantly accelerate AI adoption by abstracting away many complex workflows for data preparation, training, benchmarking, and inference. LastMile AI wants to make AI approachable even for organizations without extensive machine learning expertise.
The $10 million in funding will be used to further develop LastMile AI's developer platform and expand its team. "These blockers can be largely solved by better AI developer tools that enable rapid experimentation and evaluation, provide orchestration infrastructure, and deliver monitoring and observability for confidence in production," said Qadri.
Simplified access to generative AI could unlock transformative new applications across industries. LastMile AI's developer-centric approach could help make AI integration a reality for many enterprises worldwide.