Amazon hires founders away from AI startup Adept

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Adept, a startup developing AI-powered “agents” to complete various software-based tasks, has agreed to license its tech to Amazon and the startup's co-founder and Some of the team has joined the e-commerce company.

Geekwire's Taylor Soper first reported the news. According to Soper, Adept co-founder and CEO David Luan will join Amazon along with Adept co-founders Augustus Odina, Maxwell Nye, Eric Elson and Kelsey Suzette and other expert employees.

However, the specialist is not closing up shop. Head of Engineering, Zach Brock, is taking over as CEO as Adept refocuses its efforts on “solutions that enable agentic AI.”

“[Our products] We will continue to draw strength from our current state-of-the-art in-house combination. [AI] models, agent data, web interaction software and custom infrastructure,” Expert wrote in a post on its official blog. Our foundation models will need to focus on fundraising rather than bringing the vision of

The deal provides a lifeline for Adept, which has reportedly been in talks with Meta and Microsoft over the past few months about a potential acquisition. Microsoft has previously invested in startups.

As for Amazon, it gets valuable talent — and tech — to fuel its creative AI ambitions. Geekwire reports that Luan will work under Rohit Prasad, the former head of Alexa who is leading a new AGI team focused on building large language models.

“David and his team's expertise in training state-of-the-art multimodal foundational models and building real-world digital agents aligns with our vision of delighting consumers and business users with practical AI solutions,” Prasad said on behalf of the employees. Geekwire wrote in a memo. “[The license] will accelerate our roadmap for building digital agents that can automate software workflows.

Expert was founded two years ago with the goal of building an AI model that can execute actions on any software tool using natural language. At a high level, the vision—a vision now shared by OpenAI, Rabbit and others—was to create an “AI teammate” trained to use a variety of software tools and APIs.

The specialist was able to win backers including Nvidia, Atlassian, Workday and Greylock with its technology, raising more than $415 million in capital and reaching a valuation of nearly $1 billion. But the startup is plagued by glitches. Expert lost two of its co-founders, Ashish Vaswani and Nikki Parmar, early on, and struggled to bring any product to market despite months and months of testing.

The market for AI agents is a bit more crowded than when Adept started. Well-funded startups like Arby's, Emergence and others are scrambling to capture what promises to be a lucrative pie. Market research firm Grandview Research estimates that the AI ​​agents segment will be worth $4.2 billion in 2022.

But perhaps Amazon will master the tie-in finish line. Or — with most of its executive ranks gone — it will resign to the same fate as Inflection, the AI ​​startup that was effectively spun off by Microsoft earlier this year, talent-wise. Or regulators will become increasingly skeptical of these kinds of AI aqui-hires (if Friday's Supreme Court decision doesn't make them teethless).

Grab your popcorn and head on in.

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