VGC Partners makes first investment from Technology Seed Fund IV
Growth capital investor VGC Partners has provided £150,000 funding to VozLab, the creator of a self-serve development platform for the next generation of flexible voice apps.
This is the first investment that VGC Partners has made from its Technology Seed Fund IV. VozLab is also the first start-up to join Amazon’s UK Alexa Incubator Programme, which provides technical and business mentorship support from the Amazon Alexa team.
Based in the UK and Uruguay, VozLab has created the world’s first proprietary self-serve voice experience platform, enabling brands in the FMCG sectors to develop, launch and manage their own voice apps. The VozLab templates remove the need for a long outsourcing process when it comes to designing and maintaining a voice app, enabling brands to create and manage their apps in real-time.
Once an app has been developed, the VozLab team, led by founders Maria Noel Reyes, Rodrigo Sellustti and Oscar Mariani, advises on how to maximise consumer engagement and revenue through smart speakers. By running campaigns including giveaways, votes and samples, VozLabprovides brands with a new channel to generate better CRM opportunities, rich customer data and product feedback.
The voice market has expanded rapidly in recent years. More than one in five UK households owned a smart speaker in 2019, with 154 million speakers shipped globally last year alone. The global smart speaker market is now worth $11.3bn, and projections expect this to increase to $30.6bn by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 22 per cent.
The investment from VGC will be used to help the company drive its client acquisition strategy, targeting both brands in the FMCG sectors, as well as selling its proprietary technologies as a white label product to creative agencies. The funding will also enable VozLab to continue to develop its tech platform, as well as investing more heavily in marketing.
VGC Partners launched its Technology Seed Fund IV in June 2020, targeting businesses that specialise in voice technology across the FMCG, health and wellness, sustainability, digital media, e-commerce and fintech sectors.
Parminder Basran, managing partner at VGC Partners, said:
“VozLab has spotted a clear gap in the market, and has developed innovative technologies to provide brands with more cost-effective solutions. Voice tech is set to take over the UK market, and through VozLab’s platform and expertise, brands can better understand and engage with their customers.
“Maria and the team have done an outstanding job of growing the business to this stage, and we’re looking forward to working with them to support the business going forward. Additionally as a member of the Alexa UK Incubator Programme, the founders will receive additional mentorship directly from the Amazon team.”
Maria Noel Reyes, co-founder at VozLab, said:
“To date, voice apps have not been used to their potential – brands have tended to rely on them for individual campaigns, with the long outsourcing chain for development often making it costly in time and money to maintain. By using the VozLabtechnology, brands can have complete control, enabling them to update and reuse apps on a regular basis to drive the best return on investment.
“In addition to the funding, the advice and connections provided by VGC will give us a real foot in the door of some of the UK’s major brands and agencies, presenting a great opportunity to accelerate growth.”
Andy Haywood, MC2
Grace James, MC2