AI-powered writing tool, Lex, recently announced its $2.75 million seed round funding led by True Ventures. The venture was spun out of Every, and is led by CEO Nathan Baschez, who sees AI as the key to modernizing the writing process.
Lex's financial boost to revolutionize writing
Lex, a platform powered by artificial intelligence aimed at bettering the writing process, has successfully secured $2.75 million through a seed funding round. This funding round was spearheaded by True Ventures. The AI platform has been spun out of Every, a venture that Lex's CEO, Nathan Baschez had a hand in starting. Baschez insists on the term 'modern writing platform' to refer to Lex, underlining that 'modern' here implies the inclusion of AI. He perceives the integration of AI in writing tools as a logical step in the continuous enhancement of writing practices spanning several centuries.
Simplifying writing with Lex's AI tool
So how does Lex plan on amalgamating AI into a writing tool in a way that would interest writers? After meticulously reviewing Lex's onboarding material and conducting a discourse with the company, it's evident that Lex envisions developing a sleek writing interface equipped with a decent number of features that power users—those who write frequently—would anticipate. The inclusion of AI is seen as a way to prolong and polish the user's workflow. Lex provides formatting tools and markdown-based shortcuts for easy addition of sub-headings and more. The AI steps in when the writing process slows down or comes to a halt. As Lex explains to new users, when they're stuck, they can simply hit CMD+Enter or type +++, and GPT-3 will predict and fill in what should come next.
An interesting aspect of Lex's AI tool is its ability to interact with comments made by users. You can ask the AI to rewrite a sentence to make it more concise, or you can ask it to evaluate whether a particular sentence is superfluous or not. Another impressive feature of Lex's AI is its ability to generate headlines for documents, a trait shared with some other AI-infused digital tools. As per CEO Baschez, the AI tools might sometimes generate 'rubbish,' but he finds its AI-generated output beneficial in overcoming writer's block or uncertainty about what to write next.
Maintaining user privacy in Lex's AI
When it comes to user privacy, there's no need for users to worry about their words being absorbed into the system for training purposes. According to Baschez, Lex is currently not using any user content for training. However, he does admit that the company might consider 'training (or fine-tuning)' its own models in the future. Should this occur, the CEO assured that the company would be completely transparent about it and take care not to include anything that the users wouldn't want included. For now, with OpenAI's models, Baschez believes that the company's privacy policies are satisfactory for 'most users' needs.'
What makes Lex particularly appealing is its clean, modern design, free from the baggage of historical word processing conventions. Many contemporary word processors like Google Docs and Word still lean towards pagination and a user experience designed for print. In contrast, Lex has done away with these outdated norms. Baschez notes that because he is creating something more focused and opinionated than traditional writing tools, he can eliminate unnecessary clutter that often bogs down other writing tools. This minimalist approach can make the writing experience feel more in tune with today's digital environment, rather than a digitized version of an outdated process.
It's not surprising to see Lex being born out of Every, a subscription media service with a focus on technology and productivity topics. Baschez revealed that after taking parental leave, he got the 'real itch to write software again,' which led him to experiment with GPT-3 and conceive the idea for Lex. Lex began as a side project, gaining strong initial interest. With a simple YouTube video and a few writers on board, Lex managed to sign up approximately 25,000 users in just its first 24 hours. This initial wave of interest also attracted TechCrunch's attention.
Lex's frugal approach to growth
Despite its successful funding round, Lex isn't planning a hiring bonanza. Instead, Baschez plans to 'keep the team really small until [it is] painful.' The 'hire when it hurts' approach is not new, but it's not often heard of lately. With a focus on limiting expenditure, the company's modest fundraising should keep it afloat for a 'really, really long time,' according to Baschez. The company also plans to start charging for its product in the near future, though the cost is yet to be determined.
Affordability of Lex's AI tool
While discussions once centered around the high gross margins AI-powered software products could command, it's now understood that large language models (LLMs) can accumulate significant usage fees. However, Baschez remains optimistic that Lex's price point will remain affordable, possibly costing just a bit more than a couple of $10 bills. Even with a potential enterprise plan, Lex would still resemble a standard SaaS company in terms of pricing structures.
Potential of Lex in the writing industry
There's no shortage of AI-powered digital services in the market, but Lex stands out by offering a high-quality writing tool that's simple to use, fast, and intelligently uses AI to aid writers rather than replace them. Given its successful funding and the clear interest from the market, Lex is certainly a startup worth keeping an eye on for its potential impact on the writing industry.