How to build an AI-powered company

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How do I go from zero to launch with AI-powered tools?

This is what I’d use if I was starting something new. And you don’t need to know how to code.

We’ll talk through a basic stack including:

Let’s assume you have an idea.

Big assumption, I know. I’ll talk about research and idea generation another time.

But for this post, you have an idea.

Figma - design

If you happen to like the ‘proper’ design process, then Figma AI is for you. Most of the magic happens from the Diagram plugins (acquired by Figma).

It helps with:

  • generating design ideas based on simple prompts like new layouts, colours and fonts.

  • automating tedious, repetitive tasks like creating UI elements, naming layers, design patterns and prototypes.

  • the product development process (enabled, in part, by their acquisition of Diagram).

  • generating and synthesizing early ideas in the discovery phase.

  • giving quicker context to generate better code

  • giving feedback on designs like usability issues and suggesting improvements.

  • generating marketing materials like website copy and social media posts.

Their Genius Chat can be used to ask questions about design and get real-time feedback.

This is great for any skill level. I use Figma and am by no means a designer (at any skill level). But being able to chat with a ‘design expert’ along the way will be hugely helpful (when it’s released).

Relume - design + build

Relume is a Figma and Webflow component library.

It provides a bunch of copy/pasteable elements you can drop into your Webflow site or Figma. Like navbars, hero sections, grids, feature sections, pricing tables, you name it.

I use it a lot for Webflow.

They released Relume AI - a way to generate a website layout from a simple prompt. So I asked it for an AI newsletter company, naturally.

Here’s what it comes up with;

A sitemap

And a suggested layout

It’ll generate the other pages for you and you can shuffle the design if you want something different. You can do this for the whole page or each element. Don’t like the hero? Re-generate it. You can do the same on the copy too.

Then for each page or element, you one-click copy and paste it into Webflow or Figma. Easy!

I started writing about Webflow AI but it’s not released yet. It was announced in April this year. 🫠 

They claim several similar features to Relume, right inside Webflow but have yet to release anything.

So stick with Relume and paste in Webflow, for now.

Another website builder I like is Framer. Which has AI-generated sites and copy changes etc - my big reason for not using them is their CMS can’t be hooked up to anything else, so I can’t get data in sheets or airtable then send it to my Framer CMS. Yet…

Glide - building an app

Glide is an application builder for mobile and web apps. If you need users to log in, upvote, review, and things like that then you need an application, not just a website.

They’ve gone HARD on adding AI features within the product.

Generate customer emails, product descriptions, summaries etc

Convert unstructured data like dates into structured data automatically

Image-to-text functionality so your users can text pictures and extract text data like receipts, PDFs etc.

Audio-to-text functionality so you can upload audio and have it transform to text instantly.

And much more.

You can build these kinds of apps in Glide:

  • Chat with your PDF

  • Marketing content generator

  • Art/Image generator

  • Customer support management

Retool - building an app

Retool is a powerful application builder, often used for internal apps but can be used for user-facing apps too.

If you want more power and control, then Retool could be what you need.

They have Retool Vectors - a simple way to store and index data into vector embeddings for AI retrieval.

Build contextual AI bots by uploading content from websites, documents and other sources.

You can manage the embedding pipeline and business logic.

Generate UI interfaces and use pre-built components to customise what you want.

Automate outreach to customers, categorise customer support tickets, summarise meeting notes - everything you can expect to be able to do, you can do.

Retool used to be quite code-y. I struggled to use it (as I can’t code). But now it’s so much more accessible.

Byword - generating content

Byword is AI-generated SEO content.

This one is controversial. Especially after their post on Twitter recently:

There’s one side that says that some of the content is useless rubbish cluttering the internet. The other side is that SEO-optimised pages on Google are already rubbish.

I agree with both. (how diplomatic)

At the end of the day, the content is only good if it’s deemed helpful to the person reading it. If you use an AI tool to generate several short, shallow posts with not much behind them then you won’t get much traffic and certainly won’t get many users signing up for your thing.

So I’d encourage using tools like this to get started but you do need to put in some work to beef out the content and make it valuable.

1,000 posts in 1 week is a bit much, innit?

Apollo - Sales & Prospecting

Apollo helps you find your customers. You search through the database, add the filters of people you’re trying to find and can reach out to them directly through the platform.

It uses AI to help you write emails, enrich prospect data, provide buyer intent, automate a/b testing for your outreach and analyse what you’re sending. They’re planning on launching AI-generated follow-up emails and go-to-market plays soon.

Streak - CRM

Streak is a simple CRM that sits on top of Gmail. They just launched Streak AI.

It does a bunch of stuff:

  • get summaries of a deal with the next steps

  • create custom views of your pipeline

  • ask in natural language about deals e.g. Who are we dealing with at Ben’s Bites? Has Ben sent the $1M contract over yet? Why is he ghosting our deal?

  • meeting preparation

  • automatic data entry

  • custom email sequences and personal replies

Cold emails are usually dull and obvious. But using AI they’re about to get a lot harder to figure out.

To be honest, any less time spent in my CRM is great. Figuring out which data is where, who’s doing what, what’s coming up, where are we with a deal etc is all just a hassle and wasted time. Yes, you need to know all that stuff, but it should be there instantly.

So I like this from Streak (yes we use it, no I don’t owe anyone $1M)

Simple Analytics - Analytics, duh

We all hate Google Analytics, right? We all hate the tracking, and the awful new updates and don’t get me started on GA4…

I said don’t.

Simple Analytics is a simple GA alternative that doesn’t track users. But it does track traffic, sources and all the other stuff you want to know when your website is doing 10k current users a minute. Or zero.

They launched Simple Analytics AI as a simple way to chat with your analytics. God, I’ve said analytics a lot - it’s hard to type!

Looking at various numbers and panels while trying to compare what’s going on and making sense of it all is a pain so simply asking about it is so much easier.

And, it makes charts for you! Huge win.

Dropbox Dash & AI - Documents, internal ops

Until Google Drive does something similar (when!?) Dropbox has done a great job at putting all of your work tools in one place. You can search across all your documents, get specific information from them, and a few other things.

It is in Beta at the moment. Which is not as good as launched, but better than nothing (ahem, Google).

From all your documents and apps all over the place (Slack, Drive, Notion, Gmail, Asana etc) you get one universal view and search.

It makes your cluttered mess feel more organised.

That’s your basic stack.

You can design your thing, build an application, find prospects, email them, run a sales pipeline, get traffic and be organised.

Of course, I could go deeper but perhaps I’ll turn this into a series where I focus on one part of the stack and highlight more areas with tools to help (like email lists, media generation, automation etc)

Please let me know what you think of this post.

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