Copenhagen-based Whispr is an AI-based voice guidance startup that helps frontline workers to do their jobs more effectively. The startup has closed a €668k pre-seed financing round led by Seedcamp, with participation from PreSeed Ventures, Futuristic VC, and Bose Ventures.
Founded in 2018, Whispr’s voice guidance app enables workers to be eyes up and hands free, so they can do their jobs more efficiently and consistently. Based on Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI, it literally whispers instructions and on-demand advice into workers’ ears, ensuring the right work – be it aircraft inspections, hotel room housekeeping or office cleaning – always gets done, and processes are adhered to. Users can also interact verbally with the app to ask questions or seek additional information as and when needed.
Frontline workers make up 80% of the world’s total workforce, performing important roles within sectors including transport, hospitality, healthcare, construction, retail and manufacturing. However, while 78% of business leaders acknowledge that connecting and empowering frontline workers is critical, just 1% of all venture funding goes towards technology serving these employees with the majority invested in tools for desk workers.
Subsequently the way in which frontline personnel do their jobs, particularly those working on their feet, has changed little if at all in half a century. Excessive employee on-boarding periods resulting in lower productivity, an over reliance on paper checklists for consistency and unnecessarily long feedback times are core problems that have never been solved.
“For 50 years, there has been virtually no improvement in bringing technology to frontline employees. We still haven’t figured out to help them do their jobs better. Whispr is changing that and bringing voice technology to empower the billions of underserved workers,” explained Hugh O’Flanagan, co-founder and CEO, Whispr, who spent over a decade working in frontline businesses. “Our technology adapts to humans, not the other way around. We are returning to the original and most natural ‘user interface’, which is voice.”
Whispr will use the funding to double its headcount in Copenhagen and Dublin and to focus on business development. The global speech and voice recognition market is estimated to reach $31.82bn by 2025*3 indicating considerable headroom for growth among startups looking to target the relatively untapped frontline services sector. Whispr has already attracted interest from aviation, facilities management and hospitality businesses and next month will launch a pilot with one of the world’s leading facilities services companies.
“Seedcamp is delighted to be investing in the Whispr team,” said Sia Houchangnia, Seedcamp Partner. “We love their vision and believe they have the potential to transform and enhance the delivery of frontline services. We are more connected today than ever before yet frontline businesses are still relying on unchanged methods from 50 years ago which are no longer fit for purpose. Frontline workers need and deserve far better tools and access to information and we see a real opportunity here for Whispr’s voice technology.”
“We look forward to supporting Whispr’s mission to transform the way work is done around the world,” said Steve Romine, Bose Ventures managing director. “Bose Ventures seeks out startups like Whispr that are using audio and voice technology in innovative ways, and we are excited about the direction Whispr is heading.”