Posted October 21, 2019

Not all automation is created equal. Often “automation” is just a synonym for programming—i.e., writing a script or program to accomplish a task that would otherwise have to be done manually. And, when applied in the context of business process, is used to automate routine tasks done on a computer. While there is a lot of value in this, it’s generally limited to tasks that can be observed and then replicated.

Instabase is tackling what has been a holy grail in automation: understanding and providing a framework for automating the processing of unstructured and offline data, which to-date has been done by humans. Take, for example, reading an arbitrary document (e.g. a receipt, a passport, a paystub) or a block of natural language text (e.g. the news). Many business processes require understanding such content, but up until now a general method of doing so from an automation framework has largely been in the realm of research or science fiction.

For these reasons, I was incredibly surprised (and not a little skeptical) when I first met with Anant and he mentioned that he was not only building an operating system to handle such tasks, but that it was used in production by a number of large financial institutions.

The more I dug into the company, the more impressed I became. Not only were the claims true, but the use cases being tackled by the platform where tremendously varied. They included mortgage processing, claims handling, market commentary analysis, and more. What they all had in common was the automation of content that previously was not possible (or practical) digitally.

We first invested in Instabase nearly two years ago, when it was just four employees and a handful of customers. Since then, the company has accomplished a tremendous amount: it’s built an exceptional engineering team with deep expertise in AI, vision, and distributed systems; it’s grown the customer base tremendously, with many more waiting to be onboarded; it’s expanded the platform to handle many more use cases; and it’s done it all while staying nearly cash neutral.

Tackling such a broad and challenging vision, and executing so well, requires a very special founder. Instabase has that with Anant. I like to describe Anant as having been engineered for exactly this company. He has a distributed systems backgrounds, having been a PhD student at MIT where he worked with some of the best systems researchers on the planet. Before starting Instabase, he was well known for building large complex systems. Beyond that, he’s demonstrated a keen ability in identifying hard problems that have tremendous value to customers, and tackling them with state of the art techniques. And he’s even built a crack team to help do that. If that wasn’t enough, Anant has also led the charge with the customers, managing all of the deals himself.

I often tell candidates looking to join Instabase that there is so much remarkable about the company. It has a remarkable founder. It has a remarkable team. It has remarkable technology. It has remarkable early traction. And it has remarkable pull by the market. We’re beyond excited to continue partnering with the Instabase team as they transform the automation landscape, in the way only they can.