Motion wants to automate task-planning using AI

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Motion is a startup that automates task planning using AI. Today, it announced that it has raised $13,000,000 in a Series B round. This round was led by SignalFire and included participation from 468 Capital as well as notable angels like Sam Altman, OpenAI co-founder. Motion CEO Harry Qi stated that the money will be used for product development, engineering, and overall hiring.

Qi, Omid Rooholfada, and Ethan Yu co-founded Motion in 2019. He estimates that knowledge workers spend 58% more time coordinating work than actually accomplishing it. If this constant coordination could be reduced, then four-hour workdays can be just as productive than the eight-hour.

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Motion automatically reprioritizes everyone’s tasks and calendars when things go wrong. Qi said that this is in contrast to competitors like Asana or ClickUp which place more emphasis on status updates and lists than task automation.

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

Many have tried to create an AI-powered task management system — see Gluru and Ahoy.ai — but few have succeeded. Qi asserts that Motion has “thousands of users” and achieved “seven-figure annual recurring revenue” last year.

Qi kept the financial details of other companies close to his chest. However, he stated that Motion is still “extremely efficient” in capital after a near-shutdown event in 2020. He stated that the long-term goal of Motion is to grow to help manage company-wide goals, OKRs and other business objectives.

He said that Motion’s product was launched during the pandemic. Remote-work made it more difficult to coordinate and communicate with other people in order to move projects forward. This was something his team had firsthand experience. “Most meetings are now online and we have tighter schedules, making it harder to find uninterrupted time to work. Motion allows you to stay productive and not work endless hours.

Motion investor Cyrus Mistry, former product leader at Google Calendar, added that he believes in the vision and has been a product lead for the product since 2010. “Everyone should have a smart assistant that tells them what the best thing is to do. This topic was the subject of a TED Talk. Motion has done an amazing job of allowing this vision to be experienced today.

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