Warp brings an AI bot to its terminal

Warp, a fast-growing startup that is working on building a better terminal, today announced that it has added a new chat feature (unsurprisingly based on ChatGPT) that will help its user with using the command line and troubleshooting errors.

We’ve obviously seen a flood of ChatGPT-enabled services lately, with some more interesting than others, but this feels like a legitimately useful application of the technology. The command line is, after all, isn’t necessarily the most user friendly of interfaces — and that means that even experienced users often have to resort to troubleshooting by searching for answers on Stack Overflow.

“The terminal is a notoriously difficult tool. It’s difficult to know how to do workflows. It’s difficult to understand errors. It’s difficult to write scripts,” Warp co-founder and CEO Zach Lloyd explained. “We think that there’s a pretty significant opportunity to put AI in the core of the app in a way that makes it so that it can do most of these things for you.” He also noted that this is a good way for new users to learn how to use the terminal.

Image Credits: Warp

As you would expect, Warp is exposing the chat interface, dubbed Warp AI, as a sidebar in the terminal, but the team did some nifty things here that make it easy to copy and paste commands back and forth. “What wouldn’t make sense to me is if we just had a bolted on ChatGPT in a way that didn’t integrate with the terminal,” said Lloyd.

At any point during a terminal session, users can bring up the new Warp AI features and start chatting away. And while the team tuned the bot so you won’t be able to talk about anything that ChatGPT knows about, it will happily talk about Bash scripts, Python errors and more.

As Lloyd noted, one of the issues with ChatGPT is that its information isn’t always the freshest. That’s less of a problem here, given that most of these command line tools don’t change all that quickly, but it’s something the team hopes to change over time.

For now, Warp AI is available free of charge, with a limit of 100 sessions per day. Over time, it will become a paid feature. Warp does have to pay for access to the OpenAI API, after all.

Interestingly, this is actually Warp’s second AI integration. The company previously launched a “natural language to command” feature that — no surprise — translates a user’s query in natural language to a terminal command.

Image Credits: Warp

Warp brings an AI bot to its terminal by Frederic Lardinois originally published on TechCrunch

Fig raises $2.2M to supercharge the terminal

Can an old Terminal learn new tricks? Fig, a company out of Y Combinator’s S20 class, has raised a $2.2M seed round to prove that it can. Their goal: augment (but don’t try to replace) the command line terminal that so many people use every day and make it more powerful and easy to use — especially for teams.

The first of these augmentations is autocomplete. Start typing your command and it’ll respond with a narrowing drop down of things that might complete it, saving you the keystrokes, time and brain juice required to perfectly remember the myriad terminal commands you might use throughout your work day.

If you’re changing directories, for example, it can help finish paths as you type; with Git, it can keep track of your most recently tapped branches. If you find yourself punching in the same Google Cloud or AWS commands 10 times a day, it’ll put them a tap away. The autocomplete functionality tied to each command line tool can be tweaked to your liking and shared with the wider community. Everything can be done without taking your hands off the keyboard, for those who tend to avoid reaching for a mouse.

Autocomplete is a great feature, though perhaps not enough to fuel an entire company — but it’s just step one, says the team. Fig founder Brendan Falk tells me the goal is to build out an “app ecosystem” for companies that use the terminal as a key part of their daily workflow, charging teams a monthly subscription fee. They’ve built a platform for shareable Markdown-based apps that can a user can launch from the terminal, giving them a visual interface that can be filled out and adjusted before piping output back into the terminal. Autocomplete, as they see it, is just the foot in the door.

“Suddenly I’ve written a little script, but it’s visual, it’s discoverable, I can share that with my team,” says Falk. “Building these internal tools for your development team is really where we want to go here … things like sharing scripts, sharing deployment workflows, sharing monitoring commands. All of this boilerplate stuff that is spread throughout your system, that really is focused within your terminal and should be contained within the terminal.”

Here’s a tweet from Fig showing that visual interface in motion:

The team didn’t initially set out with their sights set on the terminal. Falk tells me that he and co-founder Matt Schrage had pivoted from idea to idea for months, building out things like a personal CRM, prediction markets and a stock exchange for creators. “We had all of the bad college kid ideas,” Falk says, “but they were just not problems we had. They were ideas, as opposed to problems people had.”

A bunch of pivots later, says Falk, they realized that each pivot had them back in the terminal typing the same commands, following the same complicated workflows to spin up a new project. “The last major changes to the terminal were in 1978, and it hasn’t really changed much since.” notes Falk. “Yet literally every hardware engineer, software engineer, data scientist is using it.” Could that be the problem they went after?

It seems there’s an audience for it; while Fig is still in private beta, Falk tells me they currently have tens of thousands of users on the waitlist to get access.

This round was led by General Catalyst, and backed by YC, SV Angel, Kleiner Perkins and a bevy of current/former tech execs including Adobe CPO Scott Belsky, Stripe CPO Will Gaybrick, Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel, former Github CTO Jason Warner, former Heroku CEO Adam Gross, Segment co-founder Calvin French-Owen and Eventbrite founder Kevin Hartz.

Fig works with macOS’ built-in terminal app out of the box, but they’ve also got add-on integrations to make it work within things like VSCode, Hyper and iTerm. It won’t work on Windows or Linux just yet, but the team says support for them is on the roadmap.

Atomic, which only funds the startups it launches, just closed its newest fund with $260 million

Jack Abraham has a lot of confidence in what he’s building. Then again, you can’t be immodest or unsure of yourself if you’re going to bet exclusively on your own startups as an investor, which is precisely the model that Abraham’s San Francisco-based venture studio, Atomic, has followed since it was launched nine years ago.

It all started with $10 million of Abraham’s own money, capital he amassed by selling his first startup, a local shopping engine called Milo, to eBay in 2010, for $75 million. Abraham had dropped out of Wharton as an undergrad with $500,000 from a professor who believed that Abraham — whose father founded ComScore — would himself be a company-building machine.

The professor had good instincts. After selling Milo at age 24, Abraham spent more than three years building products inside of eBay and learning how to lead multiple teams before beginning to look outward, making angel bets, including on Uber and Pinterest, and, he says, spreading around some of his ideas. (Among these, he says, he “invented Postmates. I gave the founders literally the idea for the company; they were working on a B2B company at the time. I was fairly early on there; that helped spawn the whole food delivery thing.”)

He had so many ideas — hundreds, he says — that not long afterward, he created Atomic with cofounder Andrew Dudum, a Wharton peer who is also the son of entrepreneurs and who also dropped out of college to join the startup world. (Dudum’s first stop was a then-nascent startup backed by Sequoia Capital.)

At first, Atomic worked on one company. The following year, it worked on two. By 2018, the outfit had built out a team that could handle many of the back-end functions that startups need to thrive, from recruiting to accounting, and launched 10 companies. Impressed investors gave the firm $150 million to create even more startups.

By then, Abraham and Dudum had brought in two other general partners: Chester Ng and Andrew Salamon. Salamon left in 2019 to launch his own venture studio, Material, with Blue Apron founder Matt Salzberg. The same year, JD Ross, one of a handful of cofounders of the newly public company Opendoor, joined Atomic as a general partner.

The firm has only picked up speed since. Indeed, at this point, Atomic has created “dozens” of startups — including roughly one per month last year, says Abraham. It also just closed on $260 million in new capital commitments, including from a prominent university that now serves as its anchor investor but would prefer not to be named publicly.

Citing “proprietary aspects” to the model, Abraham declines to explain how Atomic’s economics work, except to acknowledge that it operates in “more of a fund context instead of a holding company” where investors would essentially be buying stakes in Atomic itself.

Certainly, it’s easy to appreciate the enthusiasm of Atomic’s investors, including early backers like Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen. Abraham and Dudum are both compelling storytellers, as we’ve witnessed first-hand in interviewing them at different times. The firm is also starting to see some exits.

One of Atomic’s creations, the telehealth company Hims, was taken public in January through a blank-check company in a deal that valued the company at $1.6 billion, and its shares have been rising since. As of this writing, the three-and-a-half-year-old outfit — run by Dudum, who is doing double-duty as Hims’s CEO and a general partner with Atomic — boasts a market cap of $2.9 billion.

Atomic also sold a voice-powered sales startup, TalkIQ, to the company Dialpad in 2018 for what Forbes reported at the time to be a “little under $50 million.” TalkIQ had raised $22 million altogether.

More exits are coming, suggests Abraham. “There many companies we have that are now approaching the sort of growth and run rate where they have the ability to go public, even as soon as in the next year,” he says.

One of those eventual prospects is Replicant, an autonomous call center startup that has raised $35 million since its 2017 founding, including a $27 million Series A round led by Norwest Venture Partners back in September. Another Atomic startup, Homebound, a three-year-old home-building outfit that handles everything from financing to construction, has also enjoyed some momentum, as well as attracted $53 million from investors.

Though Atomic prides itself on “pressure testing” its ideas, not every startup has been a hit with users. A photo-sharing app called Ever was quickly shut down after NBC reported that the photos people shared were used to train a facial recognition system — tech the company offered to sell to private companies, law enforcement and the military. A sleep-tracking specialist, Rested, was also shut down.

Meanwhile, ZenReach, a Wi-Fi marketing company that had collected at least $94 million from investors through 2018, laid off 20% of its employees that same year. A CEO who’d been brought aboard by Abraham and who was previously an operating partner with Atomic, has since moved on to a role elsewhere.

If not all of its ideas set the world on fire, Atomic has no shortage of others.

Asked about some of the areas where he sees the most opportunity to innovate, Abraham quickly ticks off “healthcare, finance, education, real estate, and other large industries where truthfully, when you’re inside them, you understand how broken they are, and they are broken up and down the entire stack.

“You study them,” he says, “and then you wonder how is this possible this happened.”

Terminal raises $17M led by 8VC to source and build remote teams of engineers

As LinkedIn announces the next stage of its own ambitions in the world of recruitment by bringing in more big data insights, another one of the startups indirectly chipping away at its position among knowledge workers by providing a way of hiring and building entire teams in remote locations is announcing another round of funding.

Terminal, a San Francisco-based startup and platform that lets companies build out remote engineering teams in international locations, and then helping with the wider practicalities that include finding workspace and sorting out benefits, is today announcing that it has raised $17 million in funding. Terminal’s hubs are currently in Guadalajara, Mexico and Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Kitchener-Waterloo in Canada, and the company is going to use some of the funding to expand to 10 other cities globally over the next two years.

The round is being led by 8VC — the venture firm founded by Joe Lonsdale, who also happens to be a co-founder of Terminal (seems like co-founding while also funding is a pattern for Lonsdale, a prolific investor who also famous for being a co-founder of Palantir Technologies).

Others participating include Atomic (where two co-founders, Jack Abraham and Dylan Serota, also co-founders), Cathay Innovation, Cherubic Ventures (where another co-founder, Andrew Dudum, is a partner that also double times also at Atomic), Craft Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and other unnamed investors.

Despite four of the five co-founders (the last is Luke Finney, who seems to be full-time just on Terminal) being from the VC world, the startup has raised relatively little funding since being founded two years ago: prior to this it had only disclosed one raise, totalling $10 million, according to PitchBook data.

LinkedIn has carved out a big swathe of the online recruitment market specifically in the area of knowledge workers, who also use the platform to provide public profiles of themselves, to brush up their skills, and to network with other folk in their various industries. That business has racked up 4 million hires this year already, CEO Jeff Weiner noted earlier today at a company event.

But within that, there are a lot of more specific use cases where the LinkedIn model is not a perfect fit, and that’s opened the door for a lot of other kinds of businesses to establish themselves and thrive.

Terminal is an example of one of these. Its particular pain point has to do with the dearth of engineers in major tech centers, and beyond, with typically five job openings for every one engineer in the U.S. alone.

While the technology world has coalesced around several key geographical areas — Silicon Valley at the epicentre and several major metropolitan areas like New York, London, Berlin and so on complementing that — the fact remains that the demand for engineers in those places, where the companies are based, still outstrips supply. On top of that, the biggest cities are overcrowded and expensive, and that turns off many people from wanting to live in them.

Terminal’s solution is to source suitable engineers in other locales and use its platform to help a company build a team from them. This is not just about building a team ‘in the cloud’ — although the idea is that, yes, the cloud is basically what makes all of this possible — but also covering office space, payroll and other HR specifics and more.

“Terminal is taking aim at the biggest problem holding back innovation: access to top technical talent.” said Joe Lonsdale, partner at 8VC, in a statement. “The best engineers are no longer concentrated in the Bay Area. They exist all over the world. Terminal helps startups access these engineers. Many of our fast-growing companies at 8VC rely on Terminal to help them scale.” Customers currently include Bungalow, Chime, Dialpad, Earnin, Gusto, Hims/Hers, and KeepTruckin.

Other startups have emerged to redress the imbalance of talent in specific locations while also helping to support new ecosystems to emerge: Andala is taking a somewhat similar approach, but it focuses on emerging markets to source talent, and engineers on its platform tend to work as contractors, not full-time employees.

While Andala is tapping into a big swing in the direction of contact-based talent sourcing, it’s interesting to see Terminal taking the bet on the fact that it can successfully create teams remotely that might just remain for the long term.

“We’re providing life-changing opportunities for engineers,” said Terminal CEO, Clay Kellogg, in a statement. “Developers and programmers love building their careers in an engineer-centric community working on world-changing products. We’re offering them a vibrant community with all of the HR resources, benefits and perks that they can get if they worked in Silicon Valley — without having to leave their hometown. This funding means we can provide exciting growth opportunities to even more engineers around the world.”

The push to more flexible working environments — including allowing people to work from home, as well as work more flexible hours — has really disrupted the traditional idea of 9-5 and everyone working together in a big (or small) building in order to get things done. At best, the consequences of that have sometimes led to more productivity and employee satisfaction, but challenges also remain. Terminal’s aim at building whole full-time teams in remote locations is interesting in that it will once again put a new spin on the idea of workplace culture, but for many businesses, especially startups, it’s a leap that is worth taking.

“KeepTruckin has built a modern technology platform to usher the fragmented trucking industry into the digital age, and our engineers have been at the center of creating a customer-centric experience since day one,” said Shoaib Makani, CEO and co-founder, KeepTruckin, in a statement. “As a fast-growing company, being able to attract and retain top tech talent is critical to our success. Terminal has been a key partner in helping us build our engineering team in Vancouver and tapping into Terminal’s extensive network has reduced the time it takes to scale our team.”

Windows gets a new terminal

Windows 10 is getting a new terminal for command-line users, Microsoft announced at its Build developer conference today.

The new so-called ‘Windows Terminal’ will launch in mid-June and promises to be a major update of the existing Windows Command Prompt and PowerShell experience. Indeed, it seems like the Terminal will essentially become the default environment for PowerShell, Command Prompt and Windows Subsystem for Linux users going forward.

The new terminal will feature faster, GPU-accelerated text rending and “emoji-rich” fonts, because everything these days needs to support emojis and those will sure help lighten up the command-line user experience. More importantly, though, the Windows Terminal will also support shortcuts, tabs, tear-away windows, and theming, as well as extensions. It will also natively support Unicode and East Asian fonts.

The idea here, Microsoft says, is to “elevate the command-line user experience on Windows.”

The first preview of the new Windows Terminal is now available.