OpenAI leads a $23.5 million round in Mem, an AI-powered note-taking app • TechCrunch

Last year, OpenAI announced the OpenAI Startup Fund, a tranche through which it and its partners, including Microsoft, are investing in early-stage AI companies tackling big problems. Mom has been the word ever since that companies have received infusions from the Fund. But today, the OpenAI Startup Fund revealed that it led a $23.5 million investment in Mem, a work-focused app that leverages AI to automatically organize notes.

The investment values ​​Mem at $110 million after the money and brings the total raised from the startup to $29 million.

Co-founded by Kevin Moody and Dennis Xu, Mem differentiates itself from traditional note-taking apps by emphasizing “light organization,” in the words of Moody and Xu. The workflow revolves around search and a chronological timeline, allowing users to attach topic tags, tag other users, and add recurring reminders to notes.

Mem users can capture quick notes, send links, and save images from anywhere using SMS, messaging apps, and the platform’s mobile client. Collaboration features allow teams to share, edit, and comment on notes and attach them directly to shared calendars for quicker reference.

Mem’s search experience uses AI to search for notes, with the goal of understanding which notes may be most relevant at any given time to a particular person. Moody and Xu say the platform is designed to help knowledge workers with their typical responsibilities, such as reading pages of information, extracting the pieces relevant to a particular question, and transforming the information into an answer or report.


Mem takes advantage of AI to organize notes in real time.

There is no doubt that knowledge seeking tasks are time consuming. According to Gartner, professionals spend 50% of their work hours searching for information and, on average, it takes 18 minutes to locate a file (although the veracity of metrics like these have been questioned over the years). One source estimates that document disorganization costs companies $3,900 per employee each year in lost productivity, making Mem an attractive proposition if the technology works as advertised.

“The first thing we hear from the organizations we talk to is a desire to be able to marry their vast troves of proprietary knowledge with…generative AI models, to support use cases ranging from conducting research to writing to selling and plus”. Moody and Xu told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The magic of Mem is that we bring together your own private and proprietary data along with state-of-the-art generative language models to unlock truly personalized factual results. We combine sources of knowledge at the individual, team and organizational levels, leading to significantly better performance across the board.”

Mem recently launched Mem It for Twitter, which allows users to save threads, get AI-generated summaries of their content, and view suggestions for similar tweets. It also continues to refine Mem X, Mem’s built-in job assistant, with new features like Smart Write and Smart Edit, which leverages artificial intelligence to generate prompt-based text, summarize files, generate titles for documents, and allow users to use natural language commands. to edit or format the text.


Mem’s AI-powered writing tools, launching in preview soon.

The plan for the foreseeable future is to lean more and more on these kinds of AI-powered experiences, Moody and Xu say, with support from OpenAI through the OpenAI Startup Fund. OpenAI Startup Fund participants receive early access to new OpenAI systems and Azure resources from Microsoft in addition to capital.

“OpenAI is obviously leading the wave of technology revolutions that we’re riding,” Moody and Xu said. “This makes the OpenAI Startup Fund the ideal partner for what we are building, both for the technical expertise and strategic guidance they bring.”

OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap, who also manages the OpenAI Startup Fund, added in an emailed statement: “Mem uses powerful AI to make knowledge workers more productive by removing the tedium and drudgery of organize and access information, ultimately allowing people to focus on the parts. of your work that matters. His vision aligns directly with our goal at the OpenAI Startup Fund to accelerate companies using AI to improve productivity and more broadly human potential.”

Mem competes with a number of companies looking to address the same challenges of finding knowledge and organizing notes. In the entrepreneurial search, there’s Glean, which recently raised $100 million in a venture capital round. On the knowledge management side, Atlassian’s wiki-like collaborative workspace Confluence and Notion, which was valued at $2 billion in 2020, still dominates.

But Moody and Xu argue that the 16-employee Mem has the advantage of being “self-organized,” apparently resulting in less curation and manual labor. While they declined to reveal Mem’s revenue or the names of major clients, they do state that Mem is successful because of its AI-powered technology.

“We are confident in our unique approach to self-organization and generative knowledge management. … Our custom machine learning models not only help knowledge workers stay organized automatically, but go beyond just helping people find things – we actually help people get their jobs done,” Moody and Xu said. “The shift to remote work has made effective, asynchronous knowledge sharing more important than ever, and the market downturn has caused companies to focus on efficiency. Our AI-assisted knowledge work saves people time, and rapid improvement on large language models gives us further momentum.”

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