🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Read AI
 ✍️ Notes From The Editors  
Thanks to everyone who introduced themselves to us last week! If you haven’t said hi yet, you can do so by replying to this email. We’re looking forward to meeting you all 🙌
We came across this week's startup, Read, while sitting in our online classes. In a nutshell, online meetings really do need to become more engaging—but at the end of the day, what's the right solution? We hope you enjoy today's issue; what are your favorite ways to increase engagement on calls?
 - Ethan and Arek 🦄
Track online meeting engagement
Read is a real-time dashboard that measures the engagement and mood of attendees during an online meeting. The company uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computer vision to gauge these factors and thus evaluate a meeting’s overall performance.
🔗 Check them out: read.ai
💰 Business Model
The Read dashboard is currently free to use. Beyond the free tier, future plans include a premium tier with unique features where users pay based on usage.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Raised $10 million seed round with investors like Madrona Venture Group, PSL Ventures, and angels like Nima Khajehnouri and Peter Sellis (VP Engineering and VP Product, respectively, at Snap)
  • Currently available as a free service on Zoom through a Google Calendar integration, with plans to move to WebEx, Teams, and Google Meet in the future
👫 Founder(s)
  • David Shim, CEO: Previously CEO @ Foursquare, Founder and CEO @ Placed (acquired by Snap, and later acquired by Foursquare from Snap), Director of Operations @ Quantcast, Political Science @ University of Washington
  • Robert Williams, VP Engineering: Previously Sr. Director of Engineering @ Foursquare, Engineering Lead @ Placed, SWE @ Microsoft, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics @ Carnegie Mellon
  • Elliott Waldron, VP Data Science: Previously VP Research @ Foursquare, VP Research @ Placed, Cognitive Psychology, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience PhD @ UC Santa Barbara, Psychology, Music, and Philosophy BA @ University of Puget Sound
🔮 Our Analysis
Remote meetings are here to stay. What many have discovered over the past year and a half, however, is that virtual calls can very quickly become tedious. It’s easy for participants to become disengaged, especially if certain people dominate the conversation. Read’s dashboard can be part of the solution by helping meeting participants understand whether to take a break or move the conversation. The company has bold plans for its tools—CEO David Shim told us that “Read has the opportunity to augment interactions wherever they occur – virtual, hybrid, or in the physical world. The ability to help augment one’s ability to read the room isn’t limited to business conversations, it applies to interactions that take place in everyday life.” We’re excited to follow Read’s journey and are curious to see whether engagement dashboards will play a large role in the future world of productivity and beyond.
📚 Further Reading
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🎁 Bonus Content!
Google is investing $1 billion toward improving Africa’s digital advancements—and a chunk of it will go towards backing startups in the continent. You can read more about it in this article from Reuters.
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