Investors haven't tired of generative AI startups yet -- particularly those with clear enterprise applications.
Case in point, Writer, which is developing what it describes as a "full-stack" generative AI platform for businesses, today announced it raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by ICONIQ Growth with participation from WndrCo, Balderton Capital and Insight Partners, Aspect Ventures and Writer customers Accenture and Vanguard.
Bringing Writer's total raised to $126 million and valuing the company at between $500 million and $750 million post-money, the new tranche will fund the development of Writer's "industry-specific" text-generating AI models, co-founder and CEO May Habib tells TechCrunch.
"Many enterprises are still just scratching the surface on generative AI, mostly building internal 'CompanyX-GPT'-type of applications," Habib said via email. "The harder, more impactful use cases require a lot more know-how on retrieval augmented generation, data gathering and cleaning and workflow construction, and they're realizing that that's 90% of the work. That's the part that Writer makes much easier -- and all of the data plus the large language model (LLM) can be hosted in an enterprise virtual private cloud, which makes it workable for enterprises."
Writer's models can be connected to a company's "knowledge base," supplying them with additional context.
Writer competes in a crowded field that includes not only OpenAI and its generative text AI rivals, like Anthropic, AI21 Labs and Mistral AI, but enterprise-focused generative platforms such as Jasper, Cohere and Typeface. All offer AI-powered tools to complete -- or generate entirely from scratch -- documents ranging from ads to copy for email campaigns, blog posts, flyers and websites.
So what sets Writer apart? Well, for one, it claims to have trained its fine-tunable models on business writing that isn't copyrighted, a key point at a time when the copyright status of AI-generated works in the U.S. remains somewhat nebulous. Writer also asserts that its models are "smaller" than average and thus more "cost-effective"; transparent in the sense that customers can inspect the models' code, features and data; and never trained on customer data.
As do several of Writer's competitors, Writer lets customers connect its models to business data sources to improve their ability to research, fact-check and answer questions. In addition, Writer allows companies to enforce regulatory, legal and brand rules across the models on its platform.
These capabilities have netted Writer "hundreds" of customers including Intuit, United Healthcare, UiPath, Spotify, L'Oreal, Uber and Accenture. Writer, based in San Francisco with a team of 100 employees, claims to have grown revenues by 10x in the last two years.