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Jane.ai raises $8.4M to bring a digital assistant into your office software

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Even as AI assistants delve deeper into consumer hardware, companies still seem a bit reticent to bring them deep into their office software workflows.

Jane.ai is aiming to bring natural language processing and intelligence into an employee-facing solution that lets people query a digital assistant to give them information about documents, meetings and general company knowledge.

The St. Louis startup announced today that it is raising an $8.4 million Series A from private investors to power this vision.

Jane lives inside apps like Slack and Skype for Business (in addition to its own web app) where users are already chatting with co-workers and may need to surface information quickly that they don’t have ready access to. With Jane, employees can just message the assistant directly and the system will comb through information and apps that were uploaded and connected to the system in order to find answers. You can ask for a file by name and quickly get a link. You can ask for a specific department’s phone number and Jane will slack it to you.

The startup currently supports integrations with Office 365, Slack, Salesforce and Zenefits, and has more partnerships “on the horizon.”

The big focus will be outsourcing some of the more basic questions that you would ordinarily ask HR or IT so you don’t have to bombard the same person’s email to get the latest phone number for the workaround for a particular problem.

The Jane.ai team

The basic goal of the system is to learn over time and give appointed admins the ability to be called on to answer certain questions when Jane doesn’t have an answer so that Jane will learn from the company experts and get more informed over time.

“Pitting humans against machines is one of the big design flaws of a lot of AI systems,” Jane.ai CEO David Karandish told TechCrunch.

The startup will also have a general knowledge base where users can call on some quickly available info that will also grow over time. It takes time for these solutions to gather the information to be accessible enough to turn to, but Jane.ai is hoping that by ensuring that data is cleaned up for every customer, a lot of employees’ frequent questions are answered on day 1.

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