Durable secures $14 million in funding to develop AI-powered bots and tools tailored for service industry small businesses.

Builders, bakers, and fitness professionals may not be the first professions that come to mind when considering the impact of AI on the workplace. However, today, a startup based in Vancouver, Canada, called Durable, is making waves by developing AI-powered business tools tailored to these and various other small business categories. They have just announced a significant round of funding driven by growing interest in their products.

Durable, the Canadian startup, has secured $14 million in a Series A funding round, which will be used to further expand its platform and customer base. While it may not be the largest Series A round in history, it boasts an intriguing lineup of investors. Leading the round is Spark Capital, with participation from Torch Capital, Altman Capital (founded by Jack Altman, brother of OpenAI’s Sam Altman), Dash Fund, South Park Commons, Infinity Ventures, and Soma Capital – all previous backers. In total, Durable has now raised $20 million.

Durable’s flagship offering is an AI-powered website builder designed for individuals and businesses with minimal or no online presence. In just one year since its launch, this tool has already been used to create over 6 million websites.

James Clift, the founder and CEO of Durable, noted that their customer base includes many traditional, long-established businesses lacking an online presence, software, or system infrastructure. These include plumbers, artisans, personal trainers, and other small companies with one to six employees who have struggled to allocate time and resources to establish themselves online.

Durable intends to capitalize on this momentum by harnessing AI advancements to create more tools that cater to its user base. Their ultimate vision is to develop an omniscient assistant that not only answers user inquiries but also proactively suggests ways to improve business operations. A beta version of this “automated, proactive assistant” is expected to be released in about three months, tailored to specific user profiles and needs.

Apart from the website builder, Durable has also developed complementary tools like a CRM platform, invoicing service, blog builder, and an AI bot for business-related questions. Notably, their AI assistant is powered by OpenAI and other language models.

Durable aims to address a common gap in the technology sector, which has often overlooked small enterprises and sole traders as target users for business tools. These businesses, although constituting over 99% of all enterprises in markets like the U.S. and U.K., have unique challenges, including lower individual spending power and fragmented technology requirements.

Durable’s differentiator is its application of AI to provide small business owners and employees with modern, affordable tools previously out of reach. This approach allows them to scale their services more efficiently and serve a wide range of customers.

Durable’s partnership with OpenAI, facilitated through Altman Capital, positions it as a noteworthy startup in the AI space. Jack Altman, founder of Altman Capital, is enthusiastic about how AI can empower entrepreneurs and small business owners to develop vastly improved products more affordably and efficiently.

In summary, Durable is on a mission to revolutionize small business operations by leveraging AI technology, with the backing of influential investors and a vision for a more accessible, streamlined future for entrepreneurs and small business owners.