Orai raises $2.3M to make you a better speaker

Orai, a startup building
communication coaching tools, is announcing that it’s raised $2.3
million in seed funding.

CEO Danish Dhamani said that he co-founded the company with
Paritosh Gupta and Aasim Sani to address a need in his own life —
the fact that he was “held back personally and professionally”
by lackluster “communications skills and public speaking
skills.”

Dhamani said he attended Toastmasters International meetings
hoping to improve those skills, where he concluded that he could
build an algorithm to analyze your speaking abilities and give tips
for how to improve.

To be clear, Orai isn’t
necessarily trying to replace groups like Toastmasters, or
individual speaking coaches. However, Dhamani said the “status
quo” involves a “one-to-one” approach, where a human coach
gives feedback to one person. Orai, on the other hand, can coach
“entire IT teams, entire student bodies.”

“I am a big advocate of personalized, one-on-one coaching as
well fine time as well,” he said. “Orai not replacing that,
it’s enhancing that if used together.”

The startup has created iOS and Android smartphone apps to
demonstrate the technology, which offer focused lessons and then
assess your progress by analyzing recordings of your voice. (I did
the initial assessment, and although I was praised for not using
any “filler words,” I was told that I need to slow down —
something I hear a lot.)

The real business model involves selling the tools to
businesses, who can then assign Orai lessons to salespeople or
other teams, create their own lessons and track everyone’s
progress.

Attendees of TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF hackathon may recognize
the team, which presented a body language analyzer
called Vocalytics
— so you can probably guess that
Dhamani’s plans go beyond audio.

The funding was led by Comcast Ventures — Orai was one
of the startups at
Comcast’s LIFT Labs Accelerator
in Philadelphia. (Currently
accepting applications
for its second class!) In addition to
announcing the funding, Orai has signed up famed speaking coach
Nancy Duarte as an advisor.

Source: FS – All Tech News 2
Orai raises .3M to make you a better speaker