Respell wants to help non-technical end users spin up AI-powered workflows

When Respell founder Matthew Rastovac was in high school, he did an internship where his job was to copy information from a government website into a spreadsheet. It was mind-numbing work, so being an enterprising young man, he wrote some code to automate the task. These days, his company helps non-technical employees take advantage of the power of generative AI to create workflows to automate tasks.

Today, the company announced a $4.75 million seed round led by Craft Ventures with help from a slew of prominent industry angels.

“Respell is using AI automation to help build workflows. It’s a pretty overplayed term at this point, but I think we’ve approached it a little bit differently, where we focus very strongly on non-technical folks,” Rastovac told TechCrunch.

That’s because he sees a market where there are way too many tools built by engineers for engineers. He wanted to change that with Respell, using the power of generative AI to help less technical users build workflows very quickly by simply describing what they want to do and letting the software do the rest.

Until now, the way non-technical folks have built workflows is with a drag and drop approach onto a palette. The software may come with predefined workflow components, but it still involved the manual task of defining the workflow. Respell is changing that by giving people the ability to describe it, and then building that workflow for them and letting them adjust it as needed.

The Respell interface

Image Credits: Respell

The company calls its workflows “spells” and users can build them or use ones that come prebuilt. When it comes to the underlying LLM, the company is trying to be agnostic and work with all of the big names out there, but the most performant model right now is GPT-4 and so most of the platform is working with that at the moment, he says.

Craft Ventures investor Sean Whitney says that Rastovac has seized an opportunity to take advantage of generative AI to solve the workflow tooling problem in a new way. “While recent developments in AI present massive transformational potential, there is one big problem: it’s challenging for the vast majority of people to tap into that potential. Respell makes it easy for anyone to utilize powerful AI in customizable and personalized ways,” he said in a statement.

The company launched last year, and came out with the first version in March. It became generally available in August. Today, he has eight full-time employees, with plans to hire a couple of more. He says he wants to be cautious and let his financial performance drive the hiring process, rather than simply hiring to grow.


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