Speek has received $1.2 million in early stage investment for its VOIP service that replaces the antiquated conference call experience of calling a 10-digit number and entering a pass code. Investors were not disclosed. Previous investors have included the CIT Gap Funds, a family of seed- and early-stage investment funds placing near-equity and equity investments in Virginia-based technology, life science, and cleantech companies.
As Co-Founder and CEO John Bracken explains it, Speek was invented because the user conference call experience is awful and antiquated. The goal for Speek is to instead make the experience super simple for people and provide a high quality call.
Speek hopes to disrupt the market with a service that gives each customer a unique web address of their choosing. The web address connects the customer to a call that provides what they call a “conference table,” experience that allows participants to see who is on the call and who is talking. Identity is core to the Speek service. Customers that sign up are identified in the call by their name, e-mail address and associated social networks.
There is now download required. The service comes integrated with Dropbox so people may share files by dragging them to the visual table. A simple chat feature provides a visual cue for the other participants. It also has a mute feature.
The caller receives a record of all their calls, which helps keep the data stored in one place. It includes the name, email addresses and the phone numbers of the callers. The chat transcript is also saved. Data can also be shared.
Bracken said they have had 50 to 100 people on the platform at any one time but it’s best suited for ten to 15 people.
Speek hosts its service on the backbone of the Level3 fiber network.
Speek will compete in the $3 billion audio conference market and by extension the $20 to $25 billion unified communications market. Competitors are GoToMeeting, WebEx and really any service that gives out a 10-digit number and a pin.
In beta since June, the service is intended for small businesses or the person in a large business who wants an alternatieve to traditional conference calls.
I like this service. It lacks the collaboration features of web conferencing services but I expect that will come. The team is strong. Bracken is one of the co-founders of Evite.com, which sold to Ticketmaster in 2001. Danny Boice is the CTO. He is the founder of Jaxara, which sold to Pantheon in 2006.
Speek makes the conference call experience much more pleasant. I do a lot of conference calls. The number, the pass code and all the audio prompts are maddening. You never know who is speaking. The market needs more alternatives like Speek that make the experience more visual and easier to use.