Voice-chat start-up for remote work raises £1.13m before launch

Posted on August 21, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

(L-R) CEO Isabel Bescos and CTO Matthew Scheybeler

London voice-first chat start-up Riff  has raised £1.13m.

The seed round was led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Seedcamp, and angels including Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, COO of GoCardless, Nicolas Brusson, CEO of BlaBlaCar and Tim Sadler, CEO of Tessian.

Former head of corporate strategy at BlaBlaCar Isabel Bescos set-up the start-up and is CEO, joined by CTO Matthew Scheybeler, co-founder of Silicon Valley’s video search tool, blinkx).

The technology has been designed to advance voice-first communication, designed to mimic the interactions people have in the office and replace text-based chat.

It is current in private beta and is actively seeking companies to test the tool.

Bescos said the potential for a new way for physically distant employees to communicate has long been sought by firms.

“We’re only just scratching the surface of what such a communication tool can do and offer to companies and it’s an exciting road to be on,” she said.

Suranga Chandratillake, General Partner at Balderton added, “We are inundated with notifications, pop-ups, chat tools and various distractions vying for our attention when trying to communicate and work with others.

“Yet none have managed to get to the crux of what it’s really like to be able to collaborate quickly with colleagues in an office.

“As more of us work remotely, there needs to be a better way. We see huge potential in Riff’s unique approach to solving this challenge, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to bring its array of benefits to more companies.”

Carlos Espinal, Managing Partner at investor Seedcamp said: “The need to communicate with team members, many of which are distributed around the world in times like these, is more important than ever. We are very excited to back Isabel, Matthew and their vision for Riff to reduce the pain that teams have in making communications more spontaneous and more relevant.”

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