Liberty Global, IDG Invest in Expect Labs - Multichannel

Liberty Global, IDG Invest in Expect Labs

Liberty Global Will Use Startup’s Voice-Driven Platform to Help Customers Discover VOD Content
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Liberty Global Ventures and IDG Ventures USA have splashed some cash on “anticipatory computing” startup Expect Labs, joining existing strategic investors Google, Intel, Samsung and Telefónica. 

Expect Labs did not disclose the investment amount, but the San Francisco-based company, founded in 2011, raised $2.4 million last fall.

Sharing some traits found in voice-recognition  products developed by Veveo and Nuance Communications, the company behind Apple’s Siri app, Expect Labs has developed an “Anticipatory Computing Engine” designed to analyze and understand multi-party conversations in real-time and to use that data to call-up related information proactively. The company claims its system can predict relevant information based on the past ten minutes of a conversation.

Last fall, Expect Labs launched its first product, MindMeld, a group voice and video calling app for the iPad.

The startup said it will use the new funds to “extend its technology platform across multiple industry verticals and geographic markets” and to bring its products to a broader range of devices.

Expect Labs said its partnership with Liberty Global will yield a variety of new services “ranging from context-aware voice and video calling to voice-driven discovery of on-demand video content.”

"In just a few years, many of us will live in connected homes where the computing devices all around us will be able to understand what we say and quickly answer our questions or find information we may need," said Liberty Global Ventures vice president Ankur Prakash, in a statement. "We are looking forward to working with Expect Labs to make these kinds of applications possible."

Voice recognition apps have rapidly become part of a broader industry trend as  pay TV operators look for new ways to help customers navigate and find content. Comcast, for example, recently released an upgraded version of its X1 Remote app for iOS devices that adds voice control. Voice-based search and navigation will also be prime features for Comcast’s new X2 video platform for TVs and connected devices.  DirecTV, meanwhile, teamed with Nuance to develop a voice-capable serach engine for iOS and Android devices.  

Other Expect Labs backers include Greylock Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, KPG Ventures, and Quest Venture Partners.

This video shows Expect Labs’ MindMeld app in action: