Pulse Labs raises $2.5 million from Alexa Fund and Bezos Expeditions to improve voice apps interaction with real people
Voice startup, Pulse Labs, announced today it has raised $2.5 million in seed financing to help brands understand how real people interact with their voice app. The current investment is led by Madrona Venture Group, the round included participation from the Amazon Alexa Fund, Bezos Expeditions, and Techstars Ventures. Understanding the interactions between voice apps and the real people is one of the biggest problems facing smart home devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Pulse Labs helps brands understand how real people interact with their voice apps through a rigorous process of live testing and data analysis. Using Pulse, voice app developers can quickly see how consumers want to interact with their app and get data on which prompts work and which don’t. The Pulse team has assisted in the successful launch of more than 20 Alexa skills for top brands. Pulse is extending their product to Google Actions in the coming months. There is currently a waiting list to use the Pulse platform.
“Voice is the next-generation user interface and the future of how humans will interact with technology,” said Maria Karaivanova, Principal, Madrona Venture Group. “When we met the Pulse team last year, we knew they were building something special. Their success in working with companies, brands and agencies prove there is a clear need to understand how real people interact with the ever increasing number of voice powered smart devices in their lives.” According to Canalys, there will be more than 56 million smart speakers sold in 2018.
“Developing apps for voice is a significantly different process than app development on other platforms – as our workflows and interactions shift away from more traditional platforms and mediums, consumers have different expectations regarding how an app responds, and designers will need to understand this change,” said Abhishek Suthan, co-founder and CEO. “We’re extremely happy to have the support of such a strong cohort of investors, and we’ll be leveraging their help to build a world class team and product for the leading voice services, starting with Alexa.”
Digital agencies are already finding the power of the Pulse platform essential to the development of voice apps.
“We have been working with Alexa from the very beginning and are committed to helping our clients maximize opportunities around voice technology,” said Steven Hansen, CTO at RAIN. “As we continue to build some of the most successful skills, we have learned that one of the most critical steps in building for Alexa is to test the experience with a variety of real people. The Pulse platform enables our team to quickly iterate on user feedback and design a voice experience that delights consumers at launch.”
“Voice-first interactions can be highly impactful, but they also have extremely low margin for error. When we’re designing for a brand the experience needs to be smooth and successful for a huge variety of users with different intents,” commented Patrick Givens, vice president at VaynerMedia and head of VaynerSmart, Vayner’s digital arm. “The Pulse platform enables us to increase the speed and scale of our voice-first design and development, so we can ensure high quality but also move quickly.”
Founded in 2016 by Abhishek Suthan and Dylan Zwick, Pulse Labs is the premier user testing solution for developers in the voice ecosystem (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, etc…). Pulse Labs provides a testing platform and panel of testers for generating UX feedback on voice applications. Developers and designers of these voice applications can test what they’ve built on users from any target demographic, obtaining insights that let them build applications their users will love.