Vowel, a virtual meeting platform, has secured $13.5 million in a Series A round led by Lobby Capital. The money will go toward product development and increasing Vowel’s personnel, according to CEO Andy Berman, bringing the total collected funds to $17.8 million.
According to reports, videoconferencing witnessed a 535 percent increase in daily traffic during the pandemic. The virtual meeting software market is predicted to reach $41.58 billion by 2027, but its widespread use obscures the difficulty of arranging meetings in an era of hybrid, flexible, and remote work. Poor meeting planning costs over $399 billion each year, according to Software One.
Vowel is a videoconferencing platform based in New York that includes a variety of planning, hosting, transcribing, search, and sharing options. It was launched in 2018 by Andrew Berman, Ben Kempe, Matthew Slotkin, and Paul Fisher. It captures audio from each meeting attendee’s microphone for in-person installations, presumably offering a higher-quality audio stream with less noise and inadvertent echo. Furthermore, within a meeting — and across meetings in aggregate – Vowel combines several data sources and metadata labelling to find any crucial points and context.
Berman said that more companies are looking to adopt new methods of working. Hybrid work needs more tools and hence remains interesting. He added that they aim to add something more to meetings so that people can get the best out of it. Their team is working on every aspect of meetings and is planning to launch every new function this fall. The platform competes with other giants in the field like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Fireflies. But what makes it unique according to Berman is its use of AI to tackle common problems encountered while videoconferencing. To take an example, in identifying crucial areas during a meeting and optimize videos to focus on participants, the platform uses computer vision technologies such as facial detection and optical character recognition. During hybrid meetings, Vowel uses digital signal processing techniques and beamforming to intelligently coordinate devices with one another, improving the accuracy of speech-to-text and speaker identification.
Vowel also claims to be working on AI-powered meeting summaries, which will take advantage of the platform’s current capacity to analyse agenda items, user-written notes, and action items, emoji reactions, comments, screen sharing content, and meeting transcripts. Key points from meetings are currently categorised into separate topic buckets that bundle together related themes. However, in the future, Vowel will provide a dashboard of metrics that will highlight trends throughout a team or specific recurrent meetings, such as how different discussion topics or project references have evolved, as well as spikes or lulls in meeting attendance.
Vowel is still in private beta, but according to Berman, it has a waiting list of more than 10,000 people. The company’s short-term goal is to keep hiring in product, design, and engineering, with a target of roughly 30 people by the end of the year.