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Invisible raises $2.6 seed round for life automation

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Invisible CEO Francis Pedraza
Invisible CEO Francis
Pedraza

Genevieve
Kim


  • Invisible allows people to outsource their most repetitive
    work and daily tasks, with prices starting at $10/hour. 
  • Invisible customers save valuable time by only have one point
    of contact with the company, who then manages a team of workers
    on their behalf. 
  • On Thursday, Invisible announced that it has raised a
    $2.6 million seed round of funding, with Zynga founder Mark
    Pincus as a notable angel investor. 
  • Invisible CEO Francis Pedraza is also excited about the
    other side of the marketplace he’s building which helps create
    tech jobs for people around the world. 

What would happen if Elon Musk had more time in his day? Would he
start another company? 

It’s a question that Invisible
CEO and co-founder Francis Pedraza thinks about often. 

Pedraza told Business Insider in a recent interview that people
who make a career out of non-repetitive tasks — like forming
business strategies and writing computer code — still spend
around 40% of their day doing process-based work that could be
delegated or automated. Pedraza pointed to recruiters who devote
half their days to posting job descriptions across the internet
and account managers who are forced to fill out detailed
reports. 

On Thursday, Pedraza’s company Invisible announced it has raised
a $2.6 million seed round to help give these employees back
the valuable gift of time. Zynga founder Mark Pincus
participated in Invisible’s seed round, as well as Backed
Ventures, Loup Ventures, Horizons Alpha, and Day One Ventures.

Pedraza believes he and his team of around 30 have come up with a
better plan for solving the outsourced work market than
well-known freelancer services like Upwork — which currently
has a $2
billion
market cap. 

He calls it a synthetic approach — pairing automation
technology with real, behind-the-scenes people completing
tasks. 

“Invisible is like Uber for digital labor,” Pedraza tells
us.

Invisible starts at $10 per hour for those looking to get help
with simple tasks like booking travel or scraping LinkedIn for
potential leads. More advanced tasks that aren’t as easy to
replicate, like drafting email responses, can cost up to $30 per
hour. 

“Labor is as cheap as processing power now, but [other companies]
are not viewing it as a computing resource,” Pedraza tells
us. “[At Invisible] we’re not giving up on humans.”

How Invisible works

Once an Invisible customer creates a task, it gets assigned to
the next available agent who is qualified to handle it. Right
now, Invisible employs 70 contract workers in 16 countries around
the world, helping complete tasks that range from qualifying
sales leads to actually drafting emails for clients. 

Users only interact with one point of contact at Invisible,
even though there may be multiple people working for them in the
background. Invisible calls this point of contact a “bot” (you
can even give your bot its own name), but at least for now, a
human will always be on the other side of the chat interface,
coordinating the outstanding work.  

Pedraza believes having a single way to manage your work is key,
otherwise training and managing a team of contractors can
become a full-time job unto itself. 

“You have to keep hiring, and pretty soon you’re building an
army, and it’s taking more of your time in running the army than
it’s saving you in time savings,” Pedraza says. 

In theory, someone using Invisible could have one person, or a
hundred people, working for them with no difference in time spent
managing the process on their end. 

The bigger picture

Beyond giving time back for people to explore more creative and
impactful work, Pedraza is also interested in the job
opportunities Invisible opens up for those around the
world.  

“If I can provide a career path for people to enter the digital
class and teach them increasingly valuable skills, that’s
exciting,” Pedraza tells us. He says that wages for workers
start at $1.50/hour but can increase up to $30/hour, where— in
countries like Kenya — that can be quite a large
salary. 

Invisible’s approach — of actually relying on people to complete
tasks, rather than pure machine automation — may run
contrarian to the typical, “AI” hype of Silicon Valley,
but Pedraza believes it’s the right one.

Invisible does use technology to automate tasks where possible —
like filling out expense reports where there are only a few major
platforms used and automated scripts can be created —
but real people are documenting and creating these processes at
the start. 

“If you say that you care about the world and you’re building
pure software companies, you’re basically anti-humanist in the
most extreme way,” Pedraza says. “You’re not helping most
people in the world. You’re increasing the inequality.”

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