Israeli start-up HearMeOut is taking on the likes of Google and Apple in a bid to capitalise an emerging demand for voice tech, listing on the ASX ahead of its planned launch in the US next year.
Coining themselves as the ‘Twitter of voice’, HearMeOut allows users to post and listen to (up to) 42-second clips of audio on its own platform, as well as share to other social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter.
It works in a similar way to Twitter by making content accessible to everyone, while also allowing people to follow friends and celebrities when posting audio content.
“We wanted to create a platform where people can catch up with their social media feeds on the go, while still getting that personal connection of hearing someone else’s voice,” CEO Moran Chamsi said.
“HearMeOut allows people to post on their Facebook and Twitter accounts without always having to look down at their phone to text or watch a video.”
“It’s still immediate but a lot more personal. That is the power of voice.”
Is the era of voice really growing?
Earlier this year, US venture capitalist and web technology guru Mary Meeker predicted that 50 percent of web searches will be done through voice by 2020.
She also predicts that as the accuracy of voice recognition improves, up from 70 per cent to 90 per cent since 2010, so too will the demand and use of voice platforms which make it more efficient and personal to communicate via technology.
Moving on this trend, late last year HearMeOut struck a distribution deal with Ford Motors to have the app available in their Sync AppLink dashboard technology.
They’re currently in talks with other car manufacturers to further utilise the HearMeOut app through hands-free technology, allowing users to upload vocal posts on Facebook and Twitter safely while driving.
Following on from the success of short video platforms like Twitter-owned Periscope, HearMeOut is making voice the next frontier in social media networking through its immediacy, on-the-go accessibility and its personal connection as opposed to text.
The company is expected to exceed its aim to raise $5.5 million and will likely raise an additional $1 million through its initial public offer. The total value of the company is expected to be $14.1 million when it lists on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
HearMeOut’s ASX listing is the latest in a trend of Israeli start-ups tapping into the Australian investor market.
Restaurant tech company Dragontail Systems aims to list on the ASX later this month. It follows others such as Sky & Space Global and cyber security firm Genome Technologies who both listed over the past year.
What is the story behind HearMeOut?
There are actually four founders; Moran Chamsi, Issy Livian, Lio Menashe and Yaki Gani. They have all known each other for years, some through friendships and others through working relationships.
Moran Chamsi (CEO) came from an advertising and innovation industry, working with leading brands including Dell, Samsung and Dior.
Issy Livian (VP of Business Development) was previously a stock broker with extensive knowledge in finance and business development.
Lior Menashe (CTO) managed major projects with one of the biggest cell companies in Israel (Cellcom). He also worked for many years in the Israeli DefenceForces elite computer unit.
Yaki Gani (Partner) has over 10 years’ experience in digital and strategy for start-up companies. He is also the founder of ‘Stuff Partners’, a company that advises growing start-ups.
The idea for HearMeOut came from the founders looking at social media in its current form and seeing how it is being used on a wider basis. After looking at people photoshopping instagram photos, and celebrities having people that run their tweets for them, they decided social media is lacking actual authenticity.
They want to be able to bring a bit more truth and personal connection to social media than what is on there today. They think that voice helps that by conveying tone and emotion more than text, but that it’s also a lot harder to fake.