Join top executives in San Francisco July 11-12 to hear how leaders are integrating and optimizing AI investments for success. Learn more
Metal, an AI startup focused on business applications, today announced it has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Swift Ventures with participation from Y Combinator and Chapter One. The funding will be used to expand Metal’s platform for building AI-powered applications and to provide greater support for large enterprise customers.
Taylor Lowe, CEO and co-founder of Metal, discussed the company’s mission and the impact of their technology during an exclusive interview with VentureBeat. “The success metric for us is live applications that solve problems that can be used by businesses that can improve people’s lives and improve the way people work,” Lowe said. “We want to change the narrative that there’s all this experimentation; we want to see real-world implementations.
Metal offers a fully managed platform for developing AI applications using natural language processing (NLP) and large language models (LLM). The platform handles complex infrastructure such as data transformation and storage, allowing developers to focus on building applications.
“Engineers don’t have to deal with data transformation, indexing, pipeline indexing, storage, all that standard stuff and infrastructure, stuff you need to power an application, but where you don’t get the value out there, you’re not learning how customers would use and interact with these things. We want to remove as much of it as possible,” Lowe said.
Helping developers build faster and easier
Lowe said Metal’s platform helps developers build applications using LLM faster and easier than building their own solutions or using standard chatbot builders. He said Metal’s platform removes a lot of complexity and infrastructure that developers don’t have to manage.
“We are really at the beginning of this installation period. So for 99% of organizations, this is still so new, business leaders are just figuring out what this technology does, what it means to them,” Lowe said. “We want to work directly with these teams to not just push the product but also to demonstrate the value of the technology”.
Metal also offers hands-on assistance and advice for companies looking to experiment with and implement AI and LLM applications in their organisations. The company works directly with business leaders to validate the value and use cases of this technology, as well as provide observability into application usage and performance.
Fresh capital to be used to build the platform
Lowe said Metal plans to use the seed funding to focus on three areas: Building the core platform and its open source project, investing in support for the enterprise, and hiring more talent for its Williamsburg, New York-based team. .
Some of the use cases enabled by Metal include information retrieval, personalization, and insights. Lowe said Metal’s clients span industries such as real estate, financial services, marketing and public relations agencies. He has shared some success stories where Metal has made a significant impact for his clients, such as Ballasta real estate company in Brazil that has created a chat application with Metal where prospective renters or buyers can ask questions about the market.
“They sort of just started this[chatbot for prospective renters and buyers]as an experiment, and then it became very quickly[it became popular],” Lowe said. “They have really good numbers in terms of how many users interact with this index by querying it every day.”
“What this technology is really good at is basically translating unstructured data, things like an RFP, a slide presentation, meeting notes, all these kinds of things that float around in the ether within an organization, but don’t are actually used,” Low said. “If you think about it, if you’re a business, you’re hiring all these people who are taking notes and carrying out projects, they’re putting all this work into creating digital assets — and then (the assets) just kind of go away.
Meet the growing demand for the LLM in Business Data
Lowe also said Metal is betting on developers to drive innovation and transformation in the AI and enterprise data space. He said Metal wants to empower developers to build applications that solve real-world problems and create value.
“The success metric for us is live applications that solve problems that can be used by businesses that can improve people’s lives by improving the way people work,” Lowe said. “We want to change the narrative that there’s all this experimentation that we want real-world deployments.”
Metal is one of the startups that is tapping into the growing demand and potential of AI and LLM in the enterprise data space. Second Deloitte’s State of AI in the Enterprise 2022 report, 79% of respondents say they have fully implemented three or more types of AI compared to just 62% in 2021.
Metal faces stiff competition from other platforms offering similar functionality, such as Hugging Face, which provides an open source library for NLP models and datasets; Primer.ai, which helps companies analyze large volumes of text data; o OpenAI Codex, which is a system that can generate code from natural language commands.
However, Metal differentiates itself by focusing on providing a fully managed service for developers who want to build applications using LLM without having to manage complex infrastructure or data pipelines. Metal also prides itself on being hands-on and customer-focused, working closely with companies to validate and deploy their AI and LLM applications.
“We’re not interested in hype, we’re interested in solving problems and proving the value of this stuff,” Lowe said. “We kind of consider ourselves practical.”
VentureBeat’s mission it is to be a digital city square for technical decision makers to gain insights into transformative business technology and transactions. Discover our Briefings.