UPDATED 20:57 EDT / MARCH 14 2023


Adept, creator of an AI assistant that automates software tasks, raises $350M

Another day, another megabucks funding round for an artificial intelligence startup. Today it’s the turn of a company called Adept, a machine learning research and product lab focused on “general intelligence,” which said it has closed on $350 million in new funding.

The Series B round was co-led by General Catalyst and Spark Capital and included participation from several unnamed investors and new financial partners. In addition, “some of the most iconic companies in tech” participated in the round, Adept said, including Nvidia Corp., Workday Inc. and Atlassian Corp. Plc., which are hoping to benefit Adept’s technology.

Forbes, which first reported the news, wrote that Adept was founded less than a year ago by Chief Executive David Luan, who had previously led the large language model program at Google LLC. Prior to that, he had served as head of engineering at OpenAI LLC, the company behind ChatGPT, so he probably knows a thing or two about AI. His co-founders include former Google Brain researchers Ashish Vaswani and Niki Parmar, who serve as Adept’s chief scientist and chief technology officer, respectively.

Adept’s founders are using their pedigree to create an AI assistant that automates software processes. Users can type commands in their own words and sit back and watch as the AI assistant follows their instructions, thus eliminating many manual processes. The funding will be used to help the company launch its first product based on that assistant, accelerate training of its AI models and add to its team.

Adept’s first large model for action, ACT-1, can execute complex user requests across a number of software tools, and can even coordinate actions across multiple applications, if needed. In September, Adept demonstrated how it had embedded ACT-1 within a Chrome extension in order to observe what’s happening inside the browser and take actions when commanded, such as clicking, typing and scrolling.

ACT-1, which works as an overlay window atop existing software, can be used to perform tasks such as importing LinkedIn URLs into recruiting software, researching information online, setting up spreadsheets and much more. Users simply type a command into the text box in the overlay window and ACT-1 will do the rest.

Adept has already made a prototype of ACT-1 available on desktop computers, and is planning to launch a mobile version soon.

Today’s round is just the latest in a string of big funding rounds in the wider AI market. It all kicked off in January when Microsoft Corp. announced it was injecting $10 billion into OpenAI. Since then, funding has poured into the sector. Generative AI startup Anthropic has been one of the biggest beneficiaries, raising $300 million — twice — in rounds led by Google and Spark Capital.

Meanwhile, Salesforce Ventures, the venture arm of Salesforce Inc., has launched a $250 million fund that seeks to invest in promising generative AI startups. It’s planning to invest in four companies, Anthropic, Cohere Inc., Hearth.AI and SuSea Inc., creator of the natural language search website You.com.

Others include the conversational AI startup Amelia LLC, which raised $175 million via BuildGroup and Monroe Capital, and Humane Inc., also based in New York and a partner of OpenAI, which raised $100 million.

Images: Adept

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