Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is going to change the world, right? Well, maybe. But even early adopters haven’t yet worked out where tools such as ChatGPT will be deployed most powerfully, particularly in a business context. WorkHack believes it can exploit that gap – the Bangalore-based start-up is today announcing a $1.5 million seed funding round as it scales its generative AI platform.
WorkHack’s platform is aimed at large enterprises that are keen to develop new use cases for generative AI but nervous about how to do so safely and effectively. “We want to help them use this technology responsibly and thoughtfully,” explains Akshat Tyagi, the founder of the company.
Tyagi sees two problems looming for large enterprises as they ponder how and where to put generative AI to best use. First, he points out, despite all the excitement about the technology, use cases beyond copywriting and search are still to be identified and proven; companies have lots of ideas about potential applications, but will need help to explore whether these are realistic. Second, there is growing concern about trust and ethics in an AI context; that worries businesses lacking an understanding of what’s actually sitting inside the large language models (LLMs) on which generative AI depends.
“There is a gulf between the technology and business applications,” argues Tyagi. “Businesses need tools that allow companies to deploy safe, thoughtful and responsible AI without having to build AI models of their own.” LLMs, he points out, can be a black box for businesses trying to work out how to move forward.
In the first instance at least, WorkHack sees sales and marketing as the function where generative AI is likely to have the greatest impact. Launched in 2021, the business’s first experiments saw it working with recruitment companies to help them harness ChatGPT during interview processes. More recently, it has focused on helping sales and marketing teams improve metrics such as conversion rates and lead qualifications.
The idea is that using its platform, enterprises can customise templates to build their own conversational agents for deployment on mobile and web-based channels. The company has so far secured 10 large enterprise customers. “We will be the stable AI layer that enterprises trust for solving their generative AI journey,” promises Tyagi. “Our core strength is recognising what areas of human interactions can significantly benefit from a technology that appears to be able to think and reason.”
The company’s first significant investment round is aimed at helping it to deliver on that promise, with the $1.5 million raised earmarked for investment in further development of WorkHack’s technology, as well as for recruitment.
The funding round is co-led by Together Fund and Nexus Venture Partners, with participation from The New Normal Fund and a number of angel investors. “Application layers for generative AI until now have primarily aided activities such as copywriting and graphic editing,” says Jishnu Bhattacharjee, the managing director of Nexus Venture Partners. “WorkHack aims to build predictability and goal alignment for companies to deploy and find their own interesting use cases for generative AI.”
Not that the business has this market to itself. Amid the generative AI frenzy, a number of companies are racing to position themselves as trusted allies to enterprises looking to exploit a fast-moving emerging technology. Examples include Jasper, which raised $125 million last year, Copy, PepperType and Velum.
Elsewhere, meanwhile, many of the large enterprise software businesses are also offering to help their customers harness generative AI. Giants including Salesforce and ServiceNow, for example, have already announced plans to incorporate generative AI in aspects of the products and services they offer.
Nevertheless, Tyagi hopes WorkHack can carve out a niche for itself, particularly in serving larger enterprises. The company’s business model, based on monthly fees for each activated user, is currently generating revenues at an annual run rate of $300,000, he says, but growth is accelerating.
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