Trees, those deciduous entities you can occasionally see outdoors when not locked down or strapped down at a desktop ruminating on a video call, have long been the inspiration for fresh new ideas. Stories abound of how founders built companies while walking the foothills in Silicon Valley or around parks in San Francisco. Yet, we’ve managed to take movement primarily out of our remote work lives over the past year.
Chicago-based Spot Meetings wants to reinvigorate our meetings — and displace Zoom as the default meeting medium at the same time. The product and company are just a few months old and remain in closed beta (albeit opening up a bit short here). Today the company is announcing $5 million in seed funding led by Ilya Fushman at Kleiner Perkins. That follows a $1.9 million pre-seed round led by Chapter One earlier this year.
CEO and co-founder Greg Caplan said that the team is looking to rebuild the meeting from the ground up for an audio-only environment. “On mobile, it needs to be abundantly simple to be very functional and understood for users so that they can actually use it on the go,” he described. In practice, that requires product development across a wide range of layers.
Today, the product’s most notable feature is that it has an assistant, aptly named Spot, who listens in on the call and which participants can direct commands to while speaking. For instance, saying “Spot Fetch” will pull the last 40 seconds of conversation, transcribe it, create a note in the meeting and save it for follow-up. That prevents the multi-hand tapping required to keep a message or to-do list for follow-up with our current meeting products. You “don’t even need to take your phone out,” Caplan points out.
What gets more interesting is the collaboration layer the company has built into the product. Every audio meeting has a text-based scratchpad shared with all participants, allowing users to copy and paste snippets into the appointment as needed. Those notes and any information that Spot pulls in are saved into workspaces that can be referenced later. Spot also sends out emails to participants with follow-ups from these notes. If the same participants join another audio meeting later, Spot will pull in the messages from their last meeting, so there is a running timeline of what’s been happening.