Two things dominate my Twitter feed these days: AI-generated images of the people I follow, courtesy of Lensa.ai, and screenshots of the perfect responses generated by research, generated by the buzzy new AI chatbot ChatGPT. startup OpenAI. While it’s fun to marvel at how thoughtful and creepy the responses to various prompts connected to ChatGPT are, such tools have great potential to change the way companies operate, one venture capital investor told me over coffee last week.
Brian Ascher, a partner at venerable VC firm Venrock, told me he thinks “every department” in a company “could eventually use it.” As an investor, Ascher focuses on AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning), among other things, and has already made bets on several AI companies, such as 6sense, which focuses on AI for revenue teams, and Socrates.ai, which provides services. to HR.
While much ink has been spilled over whether ChatGPT could be the next Google, or at least a search engine threat, what’s less hypothetical is that ChatGPT is already being used by one of Ascher’s portfolio companies, 6sense, for sales force automation. he said he emailed prospects.
According to Ascher, the “big opportunity” for AI is to take an application like Salesforce, which is nice and everyone needs it, but it’s a lot of work. It’s no secret that salespeople complain about it because they have to enter data,” Ascher says. “When everything becomes more automated and you get the value of the software with less work as input, that’s a game changer.” Practically, it “looks for patterns in huge data sets incorporating learning loops to improve over time. There are already a bunch of companies trying to track sales calls, email communications, and Zoom sessions to extract salient points of entry into Salesforce,” he notes. “AI definitely does the heavy lifting of distilling a long exchange into the most relevant phrases and data points.”
Beyond sales, Ascher argues that ChatGPT and similar generative AI technology can overhaul an often confused and outdated HR department or even IT departments. He claims the employee handbooks are a “disaster” and lack information (such as requiring a booster shot). “The AI can be an interface like when you’re on a shopping site and they say, ‘Can I help you?'” It can answer questions like how to reset a password or when you’re eligible to reset a password. a new laptop, he notes. “These are all barriers to supporting employees to do their daily work, and we need to automate that as much as possible,” Ascher argues. He even goes so far as to say “there are practically an infinite number of use cases for generative AI.”
Given all the hype, it’s no surprise that OpenAI seems like a hot commodity in the VC space. Ascher told me that ChatGPT is a big topic in his AI circles (“people are blown away,” he says). Meanwhile, OpenAI, a non-profit startup that previously included Elon Musk and former Y Combinator Sam Altman among its founders and became a limited-profit organization in 2019, is reportedly in talks to raise more funding. Microsoft spent $1 billion on the company three years ago.
Whether or not ChatGPT intends to become the next Google or automate a large portion of salespeople’s tasks, one thing is certain: the technology is still new. When I asked Ascher if we were “there yet” in terms of this technology being able to seamlessly fill HR and customer relations functions, he said it was “close enough,” or about 80%. Like what else Luck and other publications have noted that ChatGPT still sometimes provides incorrect or incorrect responses, which can harm the company’s brand and consumers.
“We have to worry about artificial intelligence going too far,” Ascher says, but “in terms of putting it into the consumer internet and B2B. [business-to-business] Internet applications, I don’t think it’s a concern.”
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Jackson Fordyce moderated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
– MoveEasyThe Columbus, Ohio-based home management platform and concierge service has raised $7 million in Series A funding. Modern Ventures led the circuit and joined it Travelers.
– Forged Solutions Group has been obtained Continental Forgea Compton, Calif.-based provider of forged and machined solutions for the military and commercial aerospace industries. Financial terms were not disclosed.
– MTY Food Group has been obtained Wetzel’s PretzelsPasadena, Calif.-based bagel snack franchise from CenterOak Partners for $207 million.
– It goes has been obtained Gorillas, a food delivery service based in Berlin, Germany. According to Bloomberg, the deal values the company at $1.2 billion.
– The one who knows agreed to buy Integration, a Houston-based IT services management company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
– Cove Hill PartnersBoston-based private equity firm, promoted Jane Levy Vance to the managing director.
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