It’s not easy for an AI startup to raise $350 million these days. But with its generative AI trained to use every software tool and API, the year-old Adept AI has done just that — announcing today a new round of funding that bets on the potential to help knowledge workers boost how they use their everyday software tools.

Want to create profit and loss columns in Google Sheets? Set a reminder in Salesforce? Whether it’s browsing the internet or navigating a complex enterprise software tool, the idea is that what might ordinarily take many clicks can be done with a quick text prompt.

A new kind of foundation model

Instead of generating text like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, or images, like DALL-E, the San Francisco-based Adept’s platform studies how humans use computers and builds AI models that can turn a text command into actions that automate complex software workflows. The company’s flagship foundation model, ACT-1, is able to interpret high-level, natural language user requests on software tools, and perform tasks for them directly.

“Giant foundation models for language and for images have shown astounding capabilities in the last few years. Adept is building on this momentum via a new kind of foundation model that can perform actions on any software tool using natural language,” said co-founder and CEO David Luan in a press release.

Competing in the generative AI space

Startups competing in the generative AI space certainly have to stand out right now, especially when it comes to targeting knowledge workers.

Just this week, Google and Microsoft are offering dueling generative AI announcements, including today’s news about Google’s PaLM API and upgrades in Google Workspace, and Microsoft’s rumored GPT-4 announcements at this Thursday’s ‘Future of Work with AI’ event. These are clear signs of Big Tech’s continued AI power consolidation.

It remains to be seen whether Adept AI’s offerings will pay off in the long run — but certainly investors like Workday Ventures are making big bets.

“Workday’s vision to use AI and ML to elevate human capabilities and make finance and HR more intelligent is well aligned with Adept’s endeavor to empower knowledge workers through responsible AI,” said Michael Magaro, senior vice president of corporate growth, Workday Ventures.

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