We put some of your questions and observations to George Bradshaw, head of operations at 11x.ai
London-headquartered startup 11x.ai publicly launched this week, announcing a $2m pre-seed round led by Project A Ventures, which it will use to build and facilitate the creation of AI workers to take on the likes of sales development, talent acquisition, and human resources work.
11x.ai’s first digital worker is sales director representative (SDR) Alice, and it will shortly launch a no-code platform on which companies and developers can build a digital workforce to take over routine tasks, such as, in the case of sales, initial outreach and prospecting.
Co-founded in January by CEO Hasan Sukkar, 11x.ai has built its proprietary large language model technology, including a “highly specific prompt framework”, on ChatGPT and more recently GPT-4.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, 11x.ai’s head of operations George Bradshaw said that the company’s ambition is to free people from the 3.8 billion hours a day spent on soulless and lifeless tasks, enabling them to spend time on higher value activities. “We will hopefully reach a world where every mundane task done by any office worker is automated,” he said.
The platform – Platform X – will be used both by companies who want to build a digital worker specific to their own needs, or developers, who will be able to build and sell more generic digital workers on the platform. Bradshaw said: “The goal is to create a very open environment in which developers can generate money.”
He added: “What we see is a marketplace for building, sharing and deploying digital workers with the goal of eradicating mundanity and this is already realisable with Alice.” Platform X is said to go live within six weeks to two months. 11x.ai is aggressively hiring and will bring on 10 new developers by the end of the month, either full stack engineers or machine learning experts.
Alice has access to a database of over five hundred million contacts and to direct her outreach (whether from her external database or from internal leads) customers are able to say what their product is; what their value proposition is; and what their pain points are. The AI SDR can then, we’re told, generate multi-channel campaigns across LinkedIn and email, which are personal to the leads. Bradshaw says: “She’ll use the information given to create personalised information on these leads and put meetings in the calendar,” adding, “There are a huge amount of guardrails in place to make sure that emails are tightly linked to the information you provide.” In terms of her database, Bradshaw says: “GDPR has been at the forefront of our minds since day one. We only use publicly retrievable work emails.”
According to Bradshaw, sales representatives spend 70% of their time prospecting and only 10% engaging with customers, and he says: “With Alice, you can flip that.”
Questions and observations from LinkedIn
We put Bradshaw in the hot seat to answer some of your observations and questions on LinkedIn, where we initially posted an article from TechCrunch to gauge reaction.
Jake Jones, co-founder at Legal OS
AI SDR sounds like a spambot. AI recruiter sounds like a spambot. This isn’t a criticism of the startup, as I have no knowledge of what they do; just my initial gut reaction to the reporting on it.
It’s the opposite of a spam bot, she’s more targeted than any SDR you’ll find. The whole point about Alice is that she books incredible meetings with high value prospects. This is definitely not spam, people use Alice because they want to only target people who want to buy that stuff, so we’re freeing the world from spam, not contributing to it.
Brian Inkster, CEO, Inksters (referencing a quote in TechCrunch)
“In two years, we believe that Digital Workers will be a regular part of how companies around the world work” is them committing the first of the seven deadly sins of AI predictions: Overestimating and Underestimating whereby we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
That’s important, many people overestimate technologies and we’ve seen that a lot in recent years about the Metaverse. We already have incredible customer traction and have reached product market fit. Our revenue growth is through the roof and our customers are happy; we are at the stage where we are onboarding people constantly. If this was a fad, why would customers be taking up substantial contracts and committing the future of their sales to us because they believe in Alice so much?
David Kinnear, barrister at Burlington Chambers
This sounds like a modern spin on outsourcing – except using AI “people” instead of remote labor. The outsourcing model is long since proven so the variable here is doing the same via tech. How much people interaction do you need and will AI be able to service that nuanced need? My guess is yes. But .. just like outsourcing everyone and their dog will jump into that market fast so expect huge competition and supplier saturation.
It’s not outsourcing because Alice is an essential part of your team and she’ll be with you like an SDR. They aren’t going to just be like third parties you go and shuffle off to do work. You’re going to integrate with Alice and she will contribute to every single step of your outbound and is going to be a fundamental part of your team. You can onboard her in 20 minutes, she will work for you for 24 hours a day, and she will be contributing from day one, so it’s very different to outsourcing in every imaginable way.
Justin North, strategic advisor, Pickering Pearce (quoting TechCrunch)
I love the irony “Sukkar plans to expand his current team of six by hiring more engineers…” – hats off to the other AI startup that sells him six coding bots to fill these roles without him figuring it out!
Our ambitions are not to stay with Alice or build digital workers, our ambitions are a fundamental upheaval in the nature of work akin to the Industrial Revolution, and to build that infrastructure we need engineers. This is a critical part of our growth strategy.
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