Assembly digicam startup Owl Labs lands $25M and partnership with HP • TechCrunch


Owl Labs, a startup growing a linuep of AI-powered assembly {hardware}, as we speak announced that it raised $25 million in a Collection C spherical led by HP Tech Ventures (HP’s enterprise capital arm) with participation from Sourcenext, Matrix Companions, Spark Capital and Playground World. The closing of the tranche marks the beginning of a strategic partnership with HP, Owl Labs CEO Frank Weishaupt mentioned, which is able to see HP put money into Owl Labs’ numerous product choices whereas offering gross sales protection and outreach with enterprise clients.

HP, notably, just lately acquired Poly, which developed a variety of video and voice units and software program for digital conferencing. Weishaupt sees no battle, arguing that Poly’s merchandise are complementary to Owl Labs’ and present “HP’s dedication to remodeling the office to a hybrid mannequin.”

“The funding will enable Owl Labs to proceed its accelerated progress … Owl Labs will use the funding to help product improvement and improve international adoption of the corporate’s merchandise, together with the [Owl Labs’] product line,” Weishaupt advised TechCrunch in an electronic mail interview. “The funding can even be used to develop Owl Labs’ international footprint and deepen go-to-market partnerships beginning with a business settlement between Owl Labs and HP France, the place HP will promote Owl Labs’ merchandise by their native gross sales staff.”

Owl Labs was based by Mark Schnittman and Max Makeev in 2014, who sought to develop a greater videoconferencing expertise than cameras on the time may obtain. (Weishaupt, a former CarGurus exec, joined Owl Labs as CEO in early 2019.)  Drawing on their work at iRobot, Schnittman and Makeev created Owl Labs’ first product, the auto-swiveling Assembly Owl Professional, after testing the idea by placing a laptop computer on a spinning stool.

In the present day, Owl Labs sells a number of merchandise, together with a devoted whiteboard digicam, assembly room management console and its latest-generation assembly digicam, the Assembly Owl 3. The Assembly Owl 3 contains a mic and speaker array paired with a 360-degree digicam, which zooms in on whoever’s talking.

There are numerous “clever” assembly cameras in the marketplace, together with from heavy hitters like Microsoft and Google. However Weishaupt makes the case that Owl Labs’ software program is a differentiator. Referred to as the Owl Intelligence System, it permits clients to attach as much as two Assembly Owls to develop their video and audio vary and add facial recognition, together with for masked faces.

“Assembly Owl 3 is the one 360-degree videoconferencing system in the marketplace that may be linked to others to develop attain in bigger areas,” Weishaupt mentioned. “Owl Labs’ know-how learns the area to create a extra seamless expertise, getting smarter over time.”

Owl Labs obtained caught in a unfavorable press cycle earlier this 12 months when a safety agency, Modzero, uncovered vulnerabilities in a number of fashions of the Assembly Owl and whiteboard digicam that attackers may exploit to acquire delicate knowledge. Owl Labs patched the exploit, which doesn’t seem to have majorly dented gross sales — Weishaupt says that greater than 130,000 organizations are utilizing Owl Labs merchandise, together with 84 Fortune 100 corporations.

“We are able to share that we’ve had a strong progress trajectory with greater than 3x income progress year-over-year and 7x income progress for the reason that pandemic started,” Weishaupt mentioned, declining to share extra exact income figures. “Owl Labs grew to become the primary firm to construct AI-powered, 360-degree video conferencing options for hybrid organizations. Owl Labs as an organization was hybrid pre-pandemic and we’re consultants at utilizing know-how to bridge the hole between distant and in-person work environments.”

So far, Boston-based, over-100-employee Owl Labs has raised $47 million in funding.



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