Pienza Ventures / Pienza Thesis  / Service as a Software

Service as a Software

Past decades of automation were all about efficiency: a machine helped a human speed up a variety of tasks. The current decade is where efficiency takes an AI-fueled leap forward, and things get exponentially messier. Software once merely digitized and augmented human work and services, but in automation 2.0, bots become brains.

AI companies are leading a transition from Software-as-a-Service to Service-as-Software, turning the table on the very essence of SaaS. In the software business, a company may sell access to its platform or tool, but customers are still responsible for using that tool to achieve the desired outcome. In the services business, responsibility for achieving the desired outcome sits with the company selling the service. Instead of QuickBooks, you offer tax services—in this case, conducted by an AI accountant. The upside of this change is huge—a $4.6 trillion opportunity, since the global services market dwarfs the software market in size.

Foundation Capital has been investing in the intelligent automation space for more than a decade (backing old-school successful startups like cloud management platform CliQr, document manager SpringCM, and others). Our confidence in newer companies like EightfoldTonkeanTuring, and Ikigai comes after years studying the evolution of such ventures. We’ve already traced the history of intelligent process automation, focusing on three s

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