Motion wants to automate job scheduling using AI • TechCrunch

Motion, a startup that automates task scheduling with AI, today announced it has raised $13 million in a Series A round led by SignalFire, with participation from 468 Capital and notable angels, including OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman. Motion CEO Harry Qi said the new funds would be invested in product development and engineering, as well as overall hiring.

Qi, who co-launched Motion in 2019 alongside Omid Rooholfada and Ethan Yu, estimates knowledge workers spend an average of 58% of their day coordinating work instead of actually getting it done. He thinks that if this constant coordination could be minimized, four-hour workdays would become just as productive as standard eight-hour workdays.

“Omid and I were friends in high school, and Ethan and I were friends in college,” Qi told TechCrunch via email. “We walked through Y Combinator’s Winter 2020 bundle with a different time management solution and pivoted to what Motion is today.”

Movement

Picture credits: Movement

The movement as it exists today predicts which members of a team should do what based on their respective projects and schedules. For each project or task, a user can tell Motion how long it will take, its priority, delay, and potential blockages, in addition to tasks that need to be completed before a particular meeting, available working hours, and optional meetings. . Motion then adjusts each team member’s schedule and task priorities in a calendar.

Whenever things don’t go as planned, Motion automatically reprioritizes everyone’s tasks and schedule. That’s as opposed to competitors like Asana and ClickUp, Qi says, which tend to emphasize lists and status updates as opposed to automating tasks.

“Ethan and I come from a high frequency trading background and what we realized when creating Motion is that there are many parallels with scheduling optimization, which is our core competency. “, Qi said. “Teams work in dynamic environments where they need to take in real-time information and prioritize accordingly; Motion’s algorithm takes thousands of inputs per person and calculates the optimal solution.

While many have attempted to create an AI-powered task manager – see Gluru, Ahoy.ai, and Aerotime – few have ultimately succeeded. Undeterred, Qi says Motion has “thousands” of users and hit “seven-figure” annual recurring revenue last year.

Qi kept other finances close to his chest, but he said Motion remains “extremely” capital efficient after a near-shutdown experience in 2020. The long-term goal is to expand Motion to handle company-wide goals and OKRs, he continued. .

“[Motion’s] The product launched in the midst of the pandemic, and working remotely intensified the pain point of constant manual coordination and communication to keep projects moving forward, which our team experienced first-hand,” he said. -he declares. “With most meetings now taking place online, our schedules are tighter and it’s harder to get uninterrupted blocks of time to actually work. Motion helps keep you productive so you don’t end up working endless hours. »

Cyrus Mistry, motion investor and former product manager at Google Calendar, added in an emailed statement, “I have believed in this vision for over a decade since I led the Google Calendar product in 2010: everyone should have a smart assistant that can tell them what’s the next best thing to work on. In fact, I did a TED Talk on this exact topic. Motion has done a truly amazing job of enabling the world to experience this view today.

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