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Y Combinator-backed Automat automates workflows from videos

Google Creative Lab, Google’s tech and culture incubator, hired Lucas Ochoa and Gautam Bose out of college to launch the AI Test Kitchen, Teachable Machine, and Google Pixel Buds Pro in three and a half years. In early 2020, their team built over 50 prototypes integrating Google’s LaMDA large language model into Google’s apps and services to find consumer applications.

Ochoa and Bose realized while working with LaMDA that enterprise automation relies too heavily on outdated tools with licensing fees and that many “citizen developer” tools are too complicated.

In an email interview, Ochoa and Bose said the industry’s main challenge is integrating generative AI advancements and finding the most user-friendly automation methods. “We believe that solving the action side of software automation will enable future, more advanced AI models to do valuable work.”

Ochoa and Bose created Lasso, an AI system that converts videos and descriptions into software automation workflows, inspired by robotics techniques like LaMDA. After Google, Ochoa and Bose joined Y Combinator’s Winter 2023 class to work on Lasso full-time.

Lasso, rebranded Automat, can break down workflow recordings into step-by-step instructions. Then it can use AI to interpret those instructions and act on a user’s behalf.

Automat can automate almost any PC workflow, from processing insurance claims to streamlining construction permit and trade license submissions, according to Ochoa and Bose. The platform parses documents, manages inventory, and responds to text messages and emails using AI and integrations with HubSpot and Salesforce.

Automat can be unattended or attended. The unattended version runs in the cloud without human oversight, while the attended version helps users with repetitive tasks as a “copilot.”

“Put simply, Automat takes care of repetitive, boring and dull work that prevents businesses from scaling,” Ochoa and Bose said. “We collaborate with executives and engineers who want to improve operations or use automation to launch new products.”

Automat is not magical. The platform does not automatically translate videos into automations, as this reporter initially thought. Customer videos or descriptions of the process they want to automate take the Automat team up to a few days to build.

Automat wasn’t the first to offer video-to-workflow conversion. MuleSoft, Microsoft (Power Automate), and ServiceNow offer comparable RPA solutions.

However, Ochoa and Bose claim that Automat is 10x faster and 1/10th the cost of workflow automation competitors.

The market leaders are UI path, Intelligent Automation, and Blue Prism. Instead of clunky low-code tools or proprietary programming frameworks, we offer powerful automations with simple instructions, they said. We help companies without the means to scale affordably eliminate time-consuming tasks so they can focus on what matters.

Automat recently completed a pilot program and is working with its first paying customers, which Ochoa and Bose say are small- and medium-sized businesses and “large-scale enterprise” corporations.

Automat raised $3.75 million in equity financing from Initialized Capital and Khosla Ventures to expand its platform. The funds will support Automat’s Sandbox feature, which lets users manage workflows and access new standalone document and image data extraction APIs, Ochoa and Bose say. Automat’s workforce will grow from three full-time employees and 12 contractors with some of the funding.

This funding round is helping us grow our engineering team and recruit machine learning experts. Ochoa and Bose said they raised based on early traction and customer demand. We’re building a lean technical team to balance customer implementations and an ambitious R&D roadmap with this boost.

A good time to raise. After years of stagnation and decline, the RPA market appears to be stabilizing. According to Forrester, the segment will reach $16 billion by 2025.

. Automat is fortunately a tool that’s needed year-round: companies use automation to save money and boost efficiency during market fluctuations. However, flow automation lets companies grow without expensive scaling costs.”

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