For the founder Najette Fellache, who came from Nantes a few years ago to the Bay Area, France was a way to grow a company she had founded and which was already starting to include large American companies like GE, Tesla. , Amazon and Medtronics as customers. .
What this six-year-old company, Speach sells, is essentially knowledge sharing among colleagues via videos produced by the employees themselves, often to supplement written instructions. The idea is to maximize quick learning, and investors appreciated it enough to provide Speach with $ 14 million in funding.
But while technology only became more relevant in a world closed by COVID-19, an internal project within the company began to interest Fellache even more after his children abruptly started attending school in distance from home. As she recounts, his aha moment came in the form of a drawing of her youngest son, who struggled to understand why his mother’s meetings continued to take precedence over him.
Like many parents trying to find a balance between work and family over the past year, Fellache wasn’t immediately sure how to parent around the clock while running a business. Unlike many parents, she had access to engineers who could create technology that allowed her, along with other members of the Speach team, to create short videos that could quickly communicate important information and be viewed at home. convenience of the recipient – as well as saved. for future reference.
In fact, as sometimes happens with internal projects, the technology has worked so well for Speach that it has since taken on a life of its own. Indeed, using some of that earlier funding from Speach – its backers are Alven and Red River West, a fund co-managed by Artémis, the Pinault-Fellache family investment firm and a team of 10 employees have launched this week Weet, a new asynchronous video start.
He walks into a crowded field. Fellache isn’t alone in recognizing the power of asynchronous meetings as an attractive alternative to phone calls, real-time meetings, and even emails, where tone is often lost and content can be misinterpreted. Loom, for example, a six-year-old corporate collaboration video messaging service that allows users to send short snippets of themselves, has already raised at least $ 73 million from investors, including Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Coatue.
Another new entrant is SuperNormal, a year-old business communications platform based in Stockholm, Sweden, which uses video and screen recording tools to help teams create and send updates. asynchronous video updates throughout the day and which raised $ 2 million in seed funding led by EQT Aventures in December.
Still, if you think the future of work is far away, it’s clear that the opportunity here is great. Plus, Weet – which is accessible for free via a browser extension and whose integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams are expected to go live next month – is quickly becoming a better product than some of those already on the market, Fellache says.
Weet already offers instant recording, screen sharing, virtual backgrounds, video filters, emoji reactions, comment options, and automatic transcription. For a premium paid version in preparation, it is also developing features that will make it easier for users to organize discussions. Imagine, for example, a salesperson researching communications about a potential customer and wanting notes of those automatic transcripts presented to them together in one email.
When it comes to privacy, Fellache highlights the data management expertise that Speach has developed over time working with clients like Airbus and Colgate-Palmolive who are extremely privacy-conscious. Weet – which Fellache says is already in use by units inside Colgate-Palmolive – uses the same standards and practices.
Weet apparently takes a different approach on the marketing front as well. Fellache says that while some rivals allow users to post one video at a time, Weet is a more conversational tool where teammates and contacts can create sections of the same video for back and forth, send video comments, audio comments, share their screen or react with emoticons.
In other words, Weet not only enables the exchange of more critical information, but can also invite greater interaction and, presumably, strengthen team relationships in the process.
“It’s a discussion, not a transaction,” Fellache suggests, and it’s important, she suggests. As she has seen first-hand, in a world where teams are increasingly dispersed around the world, open communication is more than ever at the heart of a company’s success – and that of its employees.