Compose.ai raises $2.1M to help everyone write faster

·3-min read

In today's GPT-3 world, it's not uncommon to hear about new software services that deal with text. Compose.ai is one such company, though it built its own language model to help folks write faster. Its early product work was enough for it to land a $2.1 million seed round led by Craft Ventures, it announced this morning.

Compose.ai is essentially an auto-complete function that works wherever you browse the web. The company is also building the capability for its AI-powered backend to learn your voice, imbibe context to help provide better responses, and, in time, absorb a company's larger voice to help align its aggregate writing output.

Co-founders Landon Sanford and Michael Shuffett told TechCrunch that Compose.ai believes that in five years, average folks won't type every word that they write. They want to bring that future to more people through the Compose.ai Chrome extension, which hopefully workers can access without having to get corporate permission.

Sanford and Shuffett described their language algorithm as a multi-tier product. Its first tier learns from reading the internet itself, learning English. The second tier deals with specific domains, like email. The third tier learns a user's voice, and, in time, a fourth tier will deal with a company's generalized approach to language.

The ability for a company to provide its workers with a shared language model that could offer linguistic and word-choice preferences as they write is an interesting concept. The idea of such a strong, centrally held tone lands somewhere between helpful and intellectually rigid. But lots of folks don't want to put their own spin on writing; many people don't like writing at all. So perhaps having more central support won't be onerous to most -- but rather a time-saving hack.

Regardless, Compose.ai is going to staff up modestly with its new raise. The company currently has three full-time workers and some contract help. Sanford and Shuffett told TechCrunch that the company intends to stay small, hiring a few experienced engineering and machine-learning staff to help flesh out its product team.

What's ahead for Compose? Its founders told TechCrunch that they are starting to talk to the corporate world a bit more than before and are planning on launching a paid service toward the end of the quarter. That could mean early revenue, extending the startup's runway substantially.

What Compose is building isn't technically simple, and the company has interesting work ahead of it to get its economics properly tuned. The company's founders told TechCrunch that the personalization work that its product will execute for customers can be expensive if done incorrectly; the pair said that they could make a future, $10/month plan attractive economically, but if done in a "naive" fashion, Compose.ai could spend $500 in compute costs to support the same account.

That would be bad.

But the company is confident that its impending paid plans should shake out well in financial terms, which makes us all the more interested in giving that version of its product a spin when we get the chance.