Motion, a start-up with automatic task planning AI, announced today that it led Signal Fire in a Series A round of 13, with the participation of 468 Capital and famous angels, including OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman. The new money will be used for product development and engineering, as well as general hiring, according to Movement CEO Harry Chee.
In the year Qi, which Motion co-founded with Omid Roholfada and Ethan Yu in 2019, estimates that knowledge workers spend 58% of their day coordinating work rather than actually achieving it. If this constant coordination could be reduced, he believes, four-hour workdays would be just as effective as the standard eight-hour workday.
“Omid and I were friends in high school, and Ethan and I were friends in college,” Qi told TechCrunch in an email. “We passed Y Combinator’s Winter 2020 Batch with a different time management solution and headed to what is Motion today.”
Activity today plans which team members should do what based on their respective projects and calendars. For each project or task, the user can tell Motion how much time it will take, the priority, deadlines and blockers, as well as the tasks that need to be done before a specific meeting, the availability of office hours, and which meetings are optional. Activity then adjusts each team member’s calendar and task priorities into a schedule.
When things don’t go according to plan, Motion automatically re-prioritizes everyone’s tasks and calendars. That’s in contrast to competitors like Asana and ClickUp, Qi says, which emphasize listings and status updates as opposed to task automation.
“Ethan and I come from a high-frequency-marketing background, and as we built the movement we realized there were many parallels with scheduling optimization, which is our core competency,” said Qi. “Teams work in dynamic environments where they need to take data in real time and prioritize; Motion’s algorithm takes thousands of inputs per person and calculates the best solution.”
While many have tried to build an AI-powered task manager — see Gluru, Ahoy.i, and Aerotime — few have finally caught on. Undeterred, Qi Motion says it has thousands of users and reached “seven-figure” annual recurring revenue last year.
Qi has kept other financial issues close to his chest, but after experience nearing 2020, he asserts that Motion is “extremely” capital efficient. .
“[Motion’s] The product was launched in the middle of the pandemic and it reinforces the constant manual coordination and communication pain to move remote work projects forward, which our team has experienced firsthand. “With most meetings online now, we’re scheduled and it’s hard to find uninterrupted time to do it right. It helps keep movement productive so you don’t work endless hours.
Activity investor and former product lead at Google Calendar Cyrus Mistry added in an emailed statement: “For more than a decade since leading the Google Calendar product in 2010, I’ve believed in this vision: Everyone should have an intelligent assistant that tells them what’s up.” The next best thing to doing. In fact, I did a TED Talk on this exact topic. Motion has done a truly incredible job of allowing the world to experience this vision today.
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