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Exclusive: Eric Schmidt-backed Augment, a GitHub Copilot rival, launches out of stealth with $252M

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the growing use of AI-powered coding assistants among software developers, and the emergence of a new AI-powered coding platform called Augment.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] AI-Powered Coding Assistants

1. What is the current and projected adoption of AI-powered coding assistants among software developers?

  • According to a recent StackOverflow poll, 44% of software engineers currently use AI tools as part of their development processes, and 26% plan to use them soon.
  • Gartner estimates that over half of organizations are currently piloting or have already deployed AI-driven coding assistants, and that 75% of developers will use coding assistants in some form by 2028.

2. What are the potential benefits of using AI-powered coding assistants?

  • AI can improve software quality, team productivity, and help restore the "joy of programming" by addressing the difficulties and frustrations of software engineering, particularly at scale.

[02] Augment - A New AI-Powered Coding Platform

1. What is Augment, and what are its key features?

  • Augment is a new AI-powered coding platform developed by ex-Microsoft software developer Igor Ostrovsky and his team.
  • Augment aims to "empower programmers and their organizations to deliver high-quality software quicker" by addressing issues like fragile, complex, and expensive-to-maintain software.
  • Augment is using "fine-tuned 'industry-leading' open models" to power its features, but the specific details about the user experience and the underlying models are not disclosed.

2. What is Augment's business model and funding?

  • Augment plans to generate revenue through standard software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, with pricing and other details to be revealed closer to the platform's planned general availability (GA) release.
  • Augment has raised $252 million in funding at a near-unicorn ($977 million) post-money valuation, with investments from notable figures and firms like former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Index Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors, and Meritech Capital.

3. What are the challenges and competition facing Augment in the AI-powered coding assistant market?

  • The AI coding assistant market is becoming increasingly crowded, with major tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google offering their own versions, and a growing number of startups also entering the space.
  • Maintaining the profitability of AI coding assistants is a challenge due to the high compute costs associated with training and serving the underlying models.
  • There are also technical challenges around vulnerabilities, copyright issues, and ensuring the quality and security of the code generated by these AI assistants.
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