Ikigai, a startup based mostly on analysis out of MIT, desires to make it easy to construct workflows with people concerned. Whereas conventional robotic course of automation (RPA) is about constructing bots for repetitive duties, this firm desires to make it simpler to construct workflows the place people should decide as a part of the method.
The corporate introduced a $13 million Collection A at present from Basis Capital, 8VC, Underscore VC and quite a lot of business angels.
Firm co-founder and CEO Vinayak Ramesh says that he present in his analysis at MIT, and at his earlier startup, Wellframe, a digital healthcare startup acquired this month, that there have been extra advanced workflows on the market that RPA wasn’t reaching.
“What we noticed is that there are use instances…[that involve] guide processes within the organizations that have been extraordinarily troublesome to automate as a result of a elementary step concerned people making judgments or selections with information, and the place each the information and guidelines they’re working on would change fairly often,” Ramesh defined to me.
Ikigai, which suggests ‘your goal’ in Japanese, desires to unravel that downside with a software that lets customers create drag and drop workflows involving disparate information sources, whereas constructing in steps the place people make selections, after which viewing the leads to a dashboard/spreadsheet view. They describe this as an “AI-charged” spreadsheet.
However they consider that they differ from different supercharged spreadsheet approaches like Energy BI and Airtable. “[Those tools] require people within the workflow, however they’re not decision- or data- based mostly workflows,” he stated, and he says that capability to construct in choice loops is a key differentiator for his or her product.
The corporate at the moment has 20 workers, principally engineers, with plans to double that subsequent yr. The founders positively appear to acknowledge the necessity to construct a various and inclusive staff as they scale the corporate.
“Variety helps make every thing a a lot nicer place to work as a result of you’ve got completely different views, various kinds of individuals coming into work daily,” Ramesh stated. He additionally factors out that a lot of his early workers are immigrants, and the corporate has labored with these people to assist them navigate the troublesome technique of getting visas to work within the U.S.
The corporate thought grew out of analysis that Ramesh was doing as a scholar at MIT. Actually, CTO and co-founder Devavrat Shah is a professor of Pc Science at MIT and was Ramesh’s professor. Shah additionally began one other firm known as Celect, which was acquired by Nike in 2019.
Whereas Ramesh moved on after graduating to assist discovered Wellframe, the concept of a product like this solely grew to become extra pronounced over time, they usually started to analysis it additional and constructed the product final yr.