Brex Inc., a highly valued startup that makes software for finance professionals, is turning to the same artificial intelligence tool behind ChatGPT for a service that can answer questions about corporate budgets, policy and spending.
The chat features are currently being tested and will be released widely this summer, the company said Tuesday. The service relies on OpenAI’s GPT language generation system — the same software that was used to build ChatGPT, the popular AI chatbot released in November.
The move would bring a controversial technology to the buttoned-down world of corporate finance and budgeting. In addition to helping chief financial officers and other executives, it will let employees get answers to questions like, “Am I going to go over budget? How can I buy this? And have we already bought something like this before?” said Brex Chief Executive Officer Henrique Dubugras.
It can tell workers if their spending violates any policies and whether an exception may be approved. “There’s like 200 different questions that finance teams have to answer to employees,” he said. “The bot will let those people spend less time answering questions and focus more on their job.”
Brex, a six-year-old startup backed by Tiger Global and PayPal Holdings Inc. co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, is valued at more than $12 billion and counts companies such as DoorDash Inc. and Airbnb Inc. among its clients.
The chat features will also anonymously aggregate data from all of Brex’s clients, so it can tell CFOs whether their spending on a particular product or piece of software is typical or too high for a company like theirs. The new offering, which also relies on work that Brex did with startup Scale AI Inc., will be available as part of the company’s Empower Platform.
Brex is part of a stampede of companies — large and small — working to integrate AI into software and sell new services to customers. That includes Microsoft Corp., an OpenAI backer, which is using the technology in its Bing search engine.
These sorts of arrangements also provide revenue to OpenAI, which charges businesses for access to its tools. At the same time, some companies, particularly in finance, are getting nervous about employees using this new generation of AI products and worry about the privacy of data that gets sucked up by AI algorithms. Last month, banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. took steps to limit or prohibit the use of ChatGPT.
Learn how to navigate and strengthen trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.