Humans are social animals. Our conversations are the crucible from which ideas are born, get tested, improve, and gain flight. Any conversation between two or more people is a meeting, and thus meetings should be the best collaboration tool ever experienced. But for all their potential, meetings fall short. In too many meetings, a lot is said, little is remembered, and follow-up is inconsistent. There are about 9 billion meetings a year in the US. These meetings take between 20% and 40% of an employee or executive’s time and thus are one of the most expensive labor costs any company has. Yet, despite, the time spent in meetings, everyone feels that many meetings waste too much time. In companies across the globe, meeting fatigue has become an epidemic.
In too many meetings, a lot is said, little is remembered, and follow-up is inconsistent.
Funding and Fresh Faces
Today we’re excited to officially announce a $5.5 million seed investment that will help us address this meeting fatigue. Investors joining the seed round feature a host of venture capital firms and strategic funds including Greycroft Partners, Battery Ventures, Caffeinated Ventures and Salesforce Ventures as well as several other funds and prominent angels. Voicera will use the investment to grow the team and rollout Eva, our inaugural product this spring.
In addition to securing funding, the company today is also glad to welcome several new executive hires including our CTO, Ahmad Abdulkader, a renowned industry expert on deep learning. Ahmad most recently served as a lead architect for Facebook’s applied AI efforts, which produced wide-reaching platforms like DeepText, a text-understanding engine with near-human accuracy in over 20 languages. Meet the rest of our group on the team page.
Eva by Voicera
At Voicera, we have been heads-down building Eva, an enterprise voice AI. Eva will intelligently facilitate meetings by making them searchable, taking note of decisions, and encouraging follow-up on action items. Eva for Enterprise will go even further, engaging beyond meetings to help employees feed data into, and query data out of, a variety of CRM, task management, and customer service platforms. We believe if we can help people produce better through collaboration, we can make their work life vastly more productive.
But this is only the beginning. Our mission is to make people vastly more productive, by leveraging AI techniques that augment their skills. We call this flavor of AI: Augmented Intelligence because it helps people become more skilled rather than replacing their jobs. Think of this style of AI as an exoskeleton and not a robot. A robot replaces you while an exoskeleton helps you perform better. We believe that there is a social imperative to help workers produce more to keep them ahead in the technological race that is enabled by AI and big data.
Our mission is to make people vastly more productive by leveraging AI techniques that augment their skills.
The Importance of Meetings
Given the expansiveness of our mission, why start with meetings? In addition to the compelling reasons stated above, meetings are one of the last un-digitized corners of the enterprise. The data coming out of meetings is generally ephemeral. Great data assets, once digitized provide incredibly valuable entry points into driving unique value. Think of how valuable LinkedIn and Facebook are because of the data assets they uniquely created. We see the same golden opportunity in the enterprise voice domain. Furthermore, we believe the time is right. The presence of Siri and Alexa in the consumer domains have brought conversations with AI into our collective cultural awareness. We also believe that the voice opportunity in the enterprise is even more compelling than the consumer opportunity. But to get this right, new techniques will need to be mastered.
We’ll be launching the beta this spring to a select group of users on the waitlist. Be sure to sign up today.
In the meantime, we’re expanding the team and looking for the best and brightest to help us deliver on our promise. Take a look at our job page here for more info.
We hope you will join us and contribute to the conversation as we dive into this journey.