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London-based Beyond Work, a startup looking to make working with enterprise tools more human and seamless with large language models. (LLMs), today announced it has raised $2.5 million in a pre-seed round of funding. The investment was led by Moonfire Ventures, with participation from MIT’s E14 fund.
Beyond Work said it plans to use this capital to accelerate the development of its human-AI work platform. The technology remains under stealth as Fortune 500 enterprises continue to test it.
“We are at a pivotal moment with this technology — it holds the potential to make work more human, but we will only get there if we build from scratch, rather than bolting it onto existing applications. It’s time for real change,” Christian Lanng, the chairman of the company who also serves as the cofounder and CEO of Tradeshift, said.
Reimagining static work applications
While specifics of the technology being developed remain under wraps, Lanng’s recent blog post and today’s press release seem to suggest that the company is working to change how teams interact with their software platforms.
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“In most cases, people are not using the software, it is using them to further the purposes of others. Click a button here, change a bit of data there … and if you’re lucky it will trigger something for someone you don’t know or see — and then, maybe, just maybe, you can get on with your real work,” the chairman wrote.
According to the company, most of these work interfaces, interfaces, applications and tools are static, with AI showing up only as add-ons to the existing software. This, Lanng said, will not last long, and most copilots adding more to existing interfaces will feel like “Microsoft Clippy.”
The answer to this problem, the company believes, is making software interaction more human by tapping the power of language — our most powerful tool for understanding and communicating. This is where LLMs will come in.
“What if we could redesign computing so that language is also the most powerful way to communicate with computers? What if the future of technology mirrored the social skills we have practiced for millennia? This is where LLMs offer true promise. They can replace over-designed, sprawling user interfaces with something much simpler and more human. Just tell your computer what you want it to do. Not with a keyboard and mouse, but in the way you interact with everything else in your life,” Lanng said in the blog post.
Though he did not share how exactly Beyond Work’s under-development platform will use LLMs to make this happen (without serving as an add-on), the effort could completely change how enterprise teams work at present. Beyond Work claims it is leveraging LLMs from scratch and building a completely new kind of application and day-to-day experience that is both enterprise-safe and revolutionary.
The founding team of the company includes talent from Uber, Tradeshift, Stack Overflow and KMD.
No word on official launch
As of now, Beyond Work is testing the platform with multiple enterprise customers and focusing largely on improving its quality and experience. It has not shared when it will make public more details about the technology.
“Work is one of the most universal parts of the human experience — but sadly, so are its frustrations. This team has an opportunity to undo that and free up human energy and attention in a way that simply didn’t exist before. We can’t wait to see it, and we can’t wait to start using it,” Mattias Ljungman, who co-founded Moonfire Ventures, said.
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