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Butter.ai launches a Slack bot to improve file searches

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Butter.ai came out of private beta today with the launch of a Slack bot to help teams and businesses locate files across a variety of enterprise services.

Backed by General Catalyst and Slack Fund, Butter is launching a bot with the ability to search files from a series of popular cloud services and productivity apps, including Google Drive, Trello, Evernote, Confluence, Dropbox, and files shared in Slack.

“All the cloud apps you have are supposed to make your work life easier, but they actually make finding your work harder. And every work app your team uses creates another information silo where valuable information goes to die,” CEO Jack Hirsch told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

File searches with Butter are powered by natural language processing that has been developed over the course of more than a year to recognize the language people use in the workplace. When the bot is unable to surface the correct answer, an employee is routed to the expert deemed best to speak with in a company or team. Users are asked to inform the bot whether it has gotten the results right or wrong so it can get smarter over time.

Butter’s bot works with shared channels, a new feature Slack launched earlier this month that lets two businesses communicate in a shared workspace.

File search will be the first in a series of AI-powered services from the company, Hirsch said.

“We’re planning on using AI and machine learning to solve other major headaches at work, but this is really only our first step,” he said.

Butter.ai was one of the first investments by former Evernote CEO and then General Catalyst managing director Phil Libin in 2016. Earlier this year, Butter was one of 10 startups to join All Turtles, an AI startup studio cofounded by Libin. The Butter team of seven employees is based at All Turtles offices in San Francisco.

Butter has also received financial support from the Slack Fund, an $80 million fund to seed the Slack App Directory ecosystem.

Though it has received support from the Slack Fund, Butter also plans to expand to other team communication apps, such as Microsoft Teams.

Butter.ai will be available for teams with less than 20 employees for $5 per employee, per month. The cost for teams with more than 20 employees will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on necessary integrations, team size, and other factors, Hirsch said.

Altogether, the company has raised about $3 million.

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