Generative AI is the buzzword of the moment in the tech industry. No wonder: VC firm Sequoia didn’t do much foretold that generative AI, which comprises AI that can generate text, art and more from prompts, could generate trillions of dollars in economic value over the long term. Is that just the optimistic reflection of a company heavily invested in the space? Maybe. On the other hand, generative AI has proven to be a flavor of work.
above normal it hopes to demonstrate the value of generative AI with its technology, which creates meeting notes by integrating with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other conferencing platforms. There are many providers in the meeting notes transcription space, which exploded during the pandemic when work-from-home setups became the norm. But Supernormal differentiates itself by extracting key details from meetings, such as actions and decisions, relying on OpenAI’s word-processing AI to do the summary work.
It’s a strong sales pitch. Supernormal announced today that it has raised $10 million in a funding round led by Balderton with participation from Acequia Capital and Founders VC. The new cash brings the company’s total raised to around $12.9 million, which co-founder and CEO Colin Treseler says is going toward R&D and product contracting.
“Supernormal currently has a small team of 5, which it expects to grow to 25 by the end of 2023, primarily in engineering, marketing and [customer] success,” Treseler told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The new funding will be used to further the mission of delivering end-to-end workflow solutions powered by critical meeting data and developing next-generation tools that deliver actionable and conversational insights across the organization.”
Treseler co-founded Supernormal with Fabián Pérez, whom he met while working at a Balderton-funded company 13 years ago. (Treseler also held product manager positions at Meta and was chief of staff in Klarna’s risk management department, while Pérez was a design director at GitHub.) In 2020, the two spent two weeks brainstorming what to build next. After long sessions, they realized that they did not have any notes on the conversations and that well-documented discussions would be critical to their success.
“At the organizational level, our meetings are an important part of our work product that, until now, have been ephemeral or too difficult to consume. Who goes back to watching an hour-long meeting when keynotes are what’s important?” Treseler said. “We’ve heard in particular that for product managers, team leads, and customer support teams, this product is particularly transformative, helping them keep track of key updates and milestones with ease.”
To that end, Supernormal’s platform, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3 model, writes meeting notes and calls into templated categories like “presentation,” “customer discovery call,” and “interview.” Supernormal pulls in details like the client’s goals and objectives, Treseler explains, and after a meeting tries to automate action items like follow-up emails, scheduling and presentations.
Supernormal is self-learning: as users edit their notes, the quality of the notes they receive on their next call improves. But they can also delete the stored data if they wish for privacy reasons.
“As companies hire, team members will be under pressure to continually meet deadlines and show value. A tool like Supernormal supports them at every stage of their work and takes that administrative pressure off them,” said Treseler. “It also takes the pressure off employees to be overly forthcoming and transparent, with Supernormal easily enabling this, which helps increase productivity and keep everyone connected regardless of location and time zones.”
This is where I should point out that Supernormal’s abilities are not super No pun, no pun. Otter, a competitor, recently released AI-generated meeting summaries. For transcribing and highlighting key moments in meetings, there’s also Headroom, tl;dv, Xembly, and Fireflies.ai.
But Treseler claims that Supernormal is more affordable than most solutions on the market (less than $1 per meeting, on average) and already has a growing paying customer base. 50,000 users at more than 250 organizations, including Netflix, Airbnb and Snapchat, are actively using the platform, she says,
The trick for Supernormal will be achieving profitability given the high cost of relying on the OpenAI API. The most complete GPT-3 plan costs around $0.02 for ~750 words, which seems like a lot, until to consider a 30-minute meeting transcript ranges from 3,000 to 6,000 words.
Another more existential business challenge is the desire among remote workers to get away from frequent meetings. In July 2022 poll at RedRex, workers said they spend an average of 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings; 71% believed that their work time was often wasted due to unnecessary or canceled meetings. Additionally, more than half of those surveyed said they actively wanted to reduce the amount of time they spent in virtual meetings.
Treseler admitted as much, and was loathe to share Supernormal’s revenue figures. But he believes that growth is sustainable.
“As more companies have gone hybrid or fully remote, Supernormal is becoming an essential tool for distributed teams,” continued Treseler. “We have seen explosive growth as teams try to figure out the hybrid or distributed model. As soon as a team member is distributed, you need a meeting documentation tool.”