Noteworthy spinout: Flowdex comes out of Seattle’s AI2 with app utilizing AI to handle notes

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Flowdex co-founders William Cheng, left, and Justin Cranshaw. (AI2 Photo)

Are you a prolific note taker looking for a new app to help manage all that information? Well, take note … and a new spinout from the Seattle-based Allen Institute for AI (AI2) might be able to help you find it.

Flowdex came out of stealth this week and is accepting users such as product managers, team leads and researchers into its beta. The startup says its smart note-taking app automatically tags notes using artificial intelligence so note takers can find what they need in a few clicks.

William Cheng and Justin Cranshaw are the AI2 entrepreneurs in residence behind the idea. Cheng, the CEO, is a Harvard University computer science grad with previous experience at multiple startups. He spent almost four years at Microsoft where he was on the Windows deployment team.

Cranshaw, the CPO, is also a Microsoft vet who was co-founder of, Microsoft’s meeting scheduling AI that is now part of Office. He is a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University who invented Livehoods, a large-scale research project in social-media analytics.

“People are drowning in information but starving for knowledge,” the company says in a Q&A provided to GeekWire. “Existing productivity tools only make things worse. Today, people waste hours a week scrolling through pages of notes just to find follow-ups, decisions, and related topics. In the worst case, they’ll even re-debate decisions their team has already made because everyone forgot what happened.”

Flowdex replaces the manual approach of note organization by using AI, most notably with an auto-tagging system.

“We also make it really simple for you to annotate your notes. You can mark things like decisions and action items, so that with a single click, you can get a condensed view of everything that’s important,” Flowdex said.

The short-term plan is to hire a team — engineering, marketing, ops — and build out the product. Flowdex says it’s had a lot of interest from investors and plans to raise funds in the near future.

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Flowdex is the 16th publicly announced company to come out of the AI2 Incubator, a branch of the 200-person research institute, which leverages AI2’s technical expertise and industry connections to help entrepreneurs build “AI first” companies. Those startups have raised total venture funding of $100 million, including $56 million last year.

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