Anand Chandrasekaran built the Facebook Messenger software developer ecosystem for almost three years. Now, he's investing in artificial intelligence start-ups that are building messaging apps. Chandrasekaran was Facebook's director who led the growth of the Messenger platform for three years from July 2016 until January 2019. He left the company after growing Messenger's developer ecosystem to one with more than 300,000 chat bots, according to a May 2018 Facebook blog post. "We grew the platform to quite a bit of success on the back of these developers," Chandrasekaran told CNBC in a recent interview.
It seems that everyone agrees that meetings are a time suck. There have been many attempts to use technology to make it easier to organize and run them, but Voicera, a Bay area startup, is attacking the problem from a different angle. It wants to make it simpler to record meetings and pull out action items automatically using artificial intelligence. Today, it announced a $20 million Series A from a mix of venture capital firms and big-time enterprise investors. For starters on the venture capital side, the round was led by e.ventures with participation from Battery Ventures, GGV Capital and Greycroft.
Artificial intelligence company X.ai has raised 23 million in new funding that'll be used to support development of its personal assistant technology. The round was led by Two Sigma Ventures and will be allocated to hiring more data scientists, improving customer acquisition, and marketing to enterprise customers. Other investors in the company's latest round include DCM Ventures, Work-Bench Ventures, and existing investors like IA Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Softbank Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, CrunchFund, and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. Its first product is based on using artificial intelligence to book your meetings for you. But instead of you needing to provide it in syntax that the computer would understand, X.ai's virtual assistant "Amy" can comprehend the context (e.g.
Conferencing solution company Zoom announced a slew of new features this week at its Zoomtopia 2019 conference in San Jose, California -- 300 in total, to be exact. Among the highlights are AI-powered transcripts and meeting notes in Zoom Meetings, in addition to a Zoom Rooms people counter informed by facial recognition. On the Zoom Meetings side, live transcripts tap startup Otter.ai's Now, attendees can take notes directly in the Zoom interface or use live transcription for voice note taking, the latter of which is parsed by algorithms to derive action items automatically in the Meeting Timelines interface. Furthermore, meeting hosts can now bring their own interpreter with a mutli-channel audio experience that mixes the original and interpreter audio, enabling listeners to understand the interpreter while hearing the original speaker's tone.
Otter.ai, an A.I.-powered transcription app and note-takers' best friend, has received a strategic investment from Japan's leading mobile operator and new Otter partner, NTT DOCOMO Inc. The two companies are teaming up to support Otter's expansion into the Japanese market where DOCOMO will be integrating Otter with its own A.I.-based translation service subsidiary, Mirai Translation, in order to provide accurate English transcripts which are then translated into Japanese. The investment was made by DOCOMO's wholly-owned subsidiary, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Inc., but the size was undisclosed. However, the new round was $10 million in total, we're told. To date, Otter has raised $23 million in funding from NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Fusion Fund, GGV Capital, DFJ Dragon Fund, Duke University Innovation Fund, Harris Barton Asset Management, Slow Ventures, Horizons Ventures, and others.