Artificial intelligence (AI) assistants have changed the face of mobile communication for consumers and now, B2B-focussed Fireflies is looking to bring similar intelligence to enterprise meetings and communication. The Hyderabad and San Francisco-based startup has raised $5Mn in its first funding round led by Canaan Partners.
In addition to Canaan, five individual investors also participated in the round.
- Sandhya Venkatachalam, former vice president of corp development, Skype and Cisco
- April Underwood, chief product officer, Slack
- Armando Mann, vice president of sales, Dropbox
- Susan Kimberlin, director of search, Salesforce
- Bill Macaitis, chief marketing officer, Slack
Speaking to Inc42, Krish Ramineni, CEO and founder of Fireflies said the company plans to utilise the funding to strengthen its machine learning and infrastructure teams and will be ramping up hiring for the same. “We will also be growing our engineering team in India, specifically Hyderabad and Bengaluru,” he added.
Founded by the University of Pennsylvania alumnus Ramineni, who has previous experience as a product manager at Microsoft, Fireflies uses a voice-based AI assistant for meetings on phone calls and brings assistant like note-taking features, improves collaboration by automatically capturing, transcribing and sharing the important information from meetings to team members.
The AI Tech Behind Fireflies
With Ramineni’s background in data science and customer voice analytics as well as cofounder and CTO Sam Udotong’s neural networks and deep learning background at MIT, Fireflies takes an AI-heavy approach for its meeting recorder. In particular, Fireflies is looking to help streamline sales calls, recruiter interviews, customer success meetings, management meetings and user interviews.
The company is bringing natural language processing (NLP) tech to interpret voice conversations and extract important information like action items, next steps, deadlines and more. Ramineni told us that Fireflies uses custom deep learning models to improve the ability to detect voice and transcribe with greater accuracy. “The power of AI is that the more conversations that our system trains on the smarter it gets,” he added.
With nine locations spread across four countries, Fireflies’ India HQ is in Hyderabad. “There is an incredible amount of engineering talent and the startup ecosystem is rapidly expanding in Hyderabad,” said Ramineni, and added that Fireflies is planning to expand its teams across engineering, sales department with its next wave of hiring in India.
Enterprise Solutions For Indian Startups
More and more startups are now looking to leverage AI and machine learning (ML) models to offer enterprise-facing products that use some element of automation. A study by Accenture revealed that AI could add $957 Bn to the Indian economy with the potential to increase the country’s total income by 15% by 2035. Investors and large corporates have also shown the appetite to partner with such tech startups to stay ahead of the curve as tech penetration and adoption increases.
While productivity tools such as Slack, Asana and Microsoft Teams have streamlined enterprise communication to a large degree, the voice-based functionality gives Fireflies an edge in the B2B segment, particularly among SMEs and startups that need to conduct remote meetings or interactions that take place via phone calls.
Besides Hindi, Fireflies is targetting European businesses with support for Spanish, French, as well as Japanese and other languages. It also plans to begin integrations with more software partners. It already works with the likes of Zapier, Slack, Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoho suite and many other enterprise SaaS providers. In addition, to improving the voice recognition, Fireflies is also looking to bring more real-time capabilities for its customers.
Besides team expansion, the future plans for Fireflies includes increasing its customer base in India by building marketing and sales teams, and adding support for languages other than English, which would definitely come in handy for Indian startups which are starting off in Tier 2 and 3 cities with local talent.