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Distyl AI, a San Francisco-based analytics firm that helps large companies use generative artificial intelligence and language models, has raised $7 million in seed funding and formed an alliance with OpenAI, a leading research organization in the field.
The funding round was led by Coatue and Dell Technologies Capital, with participation from Nat Friedman, the former chief executive of GitHub; Brad Gerstner, the founder and chief executive of Altimeter; and Jim Cash, a professor at Harvard Business School.
Distyl AI was founded by Arjun Prakash and Derek Ho, who previously worked at Palantir, a data-mining company. They said their goal was to integrate AI into the core business workflows of enterprise-scale companies, such as marketing, sales, customer service and product development.
“Our team is committed to leveraging generative AI for mitigating enterprise workflow challenges, enabling enterprises to achieve operational excellence and strengthen their competitive position in the market,” Prakash told VentureBeat.
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The alliance with OpenAI will enable Distyl AI to bring the latest in cutting-edge AI research and infrastructure to enterprise customers while adhering to the highest standards of reliability, scalability and security.
“We are excited to collaborate with the exceptional team at Distyl AI,” said Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI. “Their vision and technical expertise will empower enterprises to integrate OpenAI technologies and unlock new potential for their customers.”
Turbocharging traditional workflows with generative AI
The company believes that generative AI has the potential to revolutionize workflows for enterprise-scale companies. However, integrating this technology into core processes can be complex and challenging. Customizing the AI to fit the unique data landscape, addressing technical expertise, and ensuring reliability and compliance with operational requirements can require substantial effort and resources.
According to Prakash, while the hype around generative AI has been about consumer and search applications, its game-changing value is in elevating core enterprise workflows. But he says the successful adoption of generative AI within enterprises requires customization according to a company’s unique data and seamless integration with its existing technologies and workflows.
“We recognize that enterprises today possess vast amounts of data that LLMs can harness to drive significant improvements in their operations. While most AI tools address simple processes, we work collaboratively with our clients to develop customized solutions that tackle complex business processes,” Prakash told VentureBeat. “These processes often involve multiple stakeholders, diverse data sources, intricate logic systems, various user groups and sophisticated security policies.”
Prakash said the company’s mission is to help deliver effective and transformative solutions to these organizations and unlock competitive advantages.
He explained that every business process, no matter how intricate, can be broken down into a sequence of steps or specific “tasks.”
“Even the most complex business processes can be simplified through task decomposition. By breaking down each process into individual tasks, and then templatizing them, businesses can reuse them across various solutions, resulting in scalability,” said Prakash.
Distyl AI understands the importance of reliability and tests its solutions in two ways. The first way is through component testing, which tests each task individually, using existing frameworks for evaluation and monitoring. The second way is through user testing, where solutions are not used for automation, but to assist humans.
The underlying data and reasoning behind the model’s suggestions are surfaced to end users, allowing them to double-check and confirm the model’s accuracy.
Prakash asserts that Distyl AI’s application of AI-based solutions to real-world business challenges — from enhancing contact center efficiency to improving medical claims creation and processing through the power of LLMs — has enabled enterprises to mitigate risks, boost production efficiencies and achieve greater revenues in key sectors like manufacturing, transportation, logistics, supply chain management, banking and government agencies.
Leveraging cutting-edge solutions through collaborations
Distyl AI’s team comprises highly experienced technologists and operators from prominent organizations such as Palantir, Apple, BlackRock, Citadel and Snorkel AI. The company also works closely with Fortune 1000 enterprises to leverage the power of generative AI and create tangible business outcomes. This results in AI-assisted workflows that enable humans to make faster, more informed decisions.
Nat Friedman, the former CEO of GitHub and creator of GitHub Copilot, believes that Distyl is a company worth watching.
“I’ve been looking for a company like Distyl. The challenge in creating value from generative AI is in the complexity of the last mile, and there is an obvious need for someone relentlessly focused on creating adoption of AI in enterprises,” said Friedman. “This team has the rare combination of expertise, experience and obsession to create value for large enterprises.”
Distyl AI’s newly formed Services Alliance with OpenAI brings cutting-edge AI innovation and infrastructure to enterprise customers while adhering to the highest reliability, scalability and security standards. In addition, this alliance allows Distyl AI to incorporate the latest in AI research, such as GPT-4, and infrastructure, such as dedicated instances, into their solutions.
“OpenAI is the real deal. This alliance means that we work closely with them, and our customers get to reap the benefits of this in the solutions we create for them,” Prakash told VentureBeat.
He revealed that the company’s efforts to accelerate adoption of AI in important institutions do not end there. The company is also keen on listening to its customers and providing the “voice of the enterprise” to the OpenAI team. This will ensure that the continued innovation of Distyl AI’s technology is grounded in real-world needs.
What’s next for Distyl AI?
The company’s commitment to collaborating with its customers is part of its strategy to drive transformative business outcomes at scale. By combining technical expertise with the unique data landscapes of its customers, the development team is poised to help enterprises unlock the full potential of generative AI and large language models.
“We plan to use this funding round to attract that talent and to develop our platform, ensuring we meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers,” said Distyl AI’s Prakash. “Our goal right now is to become the most trusted partner to help customers achieve exactly that. We plan to do this by building the most competent team, developing the most reliable products, and partnering with visionary technologists like OpenAI.”
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