Exporting Innovation: Dubai-Based Startup Wrappup Gets Acquired By California-Based Voicera
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Dubai-based startup Wrappup has been acquired by the California-headquartered Voicera for an undisclosed sum, with the former’s team joining the latter to work on platform growth, as well as cutting edge AI research and development.
As a mobile app that made use of AI to auto-summarize meetings, Wrappup fits it neatly with Voicera’s own offering, which leverages a combination of voice recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning to provide attendees of a meeting with a full recording and transcription, as well as high accuracy meeting highlights.
“As of today, we have rebranded the Wrappup app under the Voicera name,” said Rami Salman, co-founder and CEO, Wrappup, who will now take on the role of VP of Growth at Voicera. “This acquisition significantly accelerates our journey toward delivering amazingly productive meeting experiences for our users.”
“Over the last few weeks, we have been hard at work integrating Voicera’s Enterprise Virtual Assistant named Eva into the mobile app experience, allowing Wrappup customers to use Eva in online meetings and conference calls,” Salman explained. “In addition, Eva brings a whole new level of analytics to your conversations, using a Voicera powered error correction engine that delivers more accurate summaries of meetings. By combining Wrappup’s current prediction engines with Voicera's AI, we are providing even better predictive highlights for your meetings, allowing you to speak naturally and let the AI take the notes.”
“When we first started Wrappup, our vision was to put back the focus on conversations itself, and let AI do the hard work,” added Ayush Chordia, co-founder and CTO, Wrappup, who will now be Director of Engineering and Applied Research at Voicera. “Meetings today are very ineffective, and most times, outcomes and action items are not tracked leading to inefficiencies. As we embarked on this journey, we realized we have a greater problem to solve, and the acquisition by Voicera will help us realize our full potential and achieve the goals that we set out when we first started the company. The value of surfacing important moments from conversations are not just restricted to meetings; we think it is a launchpad for lot of future possibilities."
Along with Salman and Chordia, Wrappup's third co-founder Rishav Jalan will also join Voicera as Engineering Manager.
Commenting on the acquisition, Voicera founder and CEO Omar Tawakol noted the similarities between his and Salman’s enterprise as being a key reason behind the acquisition. “Both companies approached the problems with meetings in synergistic ways,” Tawakol said. “Wrappup’s mobile-first, in-person meeting product complements and extends Voicera’s initial focus on conference calls.”
As for how Wrappup made the cut, Tawakol listed three main factors that drove Voicera’s decision to acquire the company. “First was the team. Wrappup has a very young, smart hardworking team that works like a Silicon Valley startup. They shared our customer-focused ethic, and our drive for fast iteration to capture more customer feedback. Second, their understanding of the domain. What we are doing is very new. Building an interface that customers love is difficult. We saw their interface become simpler over time- which is a great sign. Finally, we were highly complementary. We didn’t have an app, and we needed an in-person meeting solution, and that is exactly what they had.”
Wrappup, which was founded at the Angelhack Hackathon in Dubai in 2015, had been incubated at in5 in Dubai Internet City, and had also raised a seed round of US$800,000 from investors like BECO Capital, 500 Startups, Arzan VC, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Womena, Dubai Angel Investors, Odin Financial Advisors, and Hala Fadel.
On the other hand, Voicera, which calls itself “a pioneer in the artificial intelligence and productivity space,” has received $20 million in venture funds from investors like Battery Ventures, Cisco Investments, e.ventures, GGV Capital, Greycroft, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures.
Commenting on his entrepreneurial journey with Wrappup, Salman said, “It’s been a wild ride for sure, from a simple idea at a hackathon, to a working prototype in 24 hours, to the current state of the platform driven by predictive A.I. and voice commands- it’s been an incredible experience. We don’t view the acquisition as an arrival per say, but merely another milestone on our journey to revolutionize the way people meet.”
“In our hackathon pitch, I remember saying, ‘Speech is one for the most underutilized sources of information in the business world today,’ and this fact still remains, but technological advances are now at the cusp of being unlocking this true potential,” Salman added. “With the resources and experienced team at Voicera, we feel that the main objective we set out is still underway.”
Salman also points to Wrappup’s acquisition by Voicera as an especially significant moment for the MENA entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We’ve managed to export innovation out of a region that is used to importing innovation,” he said. “This is not a copy-paste application, but a new way of doing things, from the ground up. I believe we are all very proud to be a part of that story, and the region has truly supported us in getting there.”