AI-based technology helps marquee brands and partners, including Salesforce and Microsoft ensure accurate name pronunciation in the workplace
November 17, 2022–Palo Alto, CA–Namecoach, the technology company solving name mispronunciation and gender communication in critical settings, has secured a Series A funding round of $8 million led by Impact America Fund with participation from
Authentic Ventures, Metaplanet, Founders Fund, Engage VC, Ai Sprouts Fund I, GTM Fund, 640 Oxford, Transcend Network, Asymmetry Ventures, Forefront Venture Partners, Network.VC, Harbor Street Ventures, and Seabed VC. Namecoach’s simple and easy to learn audio pronunciation technology supports the growing need of organizations to create a culture of inclusion and belonging. The company has more than 300 customers and partners, including Salesforce and Microsoft, and will release a direct-to-consumer product in 2023.
“We believe that systemic change can be as simple as saying someone’s name right,” said Kaiton Williams, Managing Partner at Impact America Fund. “Names are a threshold to opportunity in every domain of our lives. When we get names wrong or avoid them for fear that we might, those doors are closed for us and for others. That’s something our investment team knows intimately. Namecoach’s solution is easy to use, built on a strong technical foundation, and their progress and market opportunity in a globally interconnected world is undeniable.”
The need for DEI solutions in professional settings is growing at an accelerated pace, as societal norms change and younger generations who care deeply about respect and identity become consumers and decision makers. According to a report from Gartner, “mentions of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on S&P 500 earnings calls have increased 658% since 2018.” However, only 18% of employees surveyed worldwide say they work in a high-fairness environment. Namecoach improves the employee and customer experience by helping people accurately pronounce names, a core tenet of an individual’s identity. Eighty percent of the 30 million unique names in the world have multiple pronunciations, making mispronunciation a common problem.
“Your name is central to your identity, and accurate pronunciation sets the tone for a positive interaction for both parties,” says Praveen Shanbhag, CEO of Namecoach. Shanbhag continues, “We are on a mission to make name mispronunciation a thing of the past for everyone. With the help of our capital partners, we will continue to develop new integrations and features to solve name pronunciation for a range of users and use cases.”
Namecoach will use the investment to expand its engineering team and invest in data science and AI staff to accelerate the core tech roadmap validated by customers. The company will also expand its platform integrations to accelerate towards platform ubiquity.
Conversational Excellence is a $100 billion market, and over the next five years, Namecoach AI will help with every element of voice interactions and will plug into user workflows, before, during, and after voice conversations in any context. With 2x year- over-year growth in 2021, the company plans to accelerate its product roadmap, strengthening its array of AI-based tools from providing contextual, real-time information to form better connections with people you meet, to tips for more inclusive communication, to helping users improve every aspect of their conversations. Namecoach has experienced a 205% increase in inbound demand since 2019, and has seen a SaaS Magic Number above 1.6 since Q4 2021.
Namecoach software embeds accurate, context-aware audio name pronunciation buttons in the tools people use everyday, enabling users to pronounce any name with ease and confidence. By providing buttons in systems including Salesforce (see video), Canvas, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Outlook and Google Workspace, Namecoach serves educators, sales reps, customer support agents, call centers, recruiters, and HR departments for corporate diversity, inclusion and belonging.