Namecoach, a technology company based in Palo Alto, California, that helps people say names correctly in important situations, has raised $8 million in Series A funding.
Impact America Fund led the round, with 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 also participating.
The funds will be used to invest in data science and AI staff to accelerate the core tech roadmap validated by customers, as well as expand platform integrations to accelerate platform ubiquity and its engineering team.
It makes software that puts context-aware audio buttons for pronouncing names in common tools. This lets users say any name with ease and confidence.
The company serves educators, sales reps, customer support agents, call centers, recruiters, and HR departments by providing buttons in systems such as Salesforce, Canvas, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Outlook, and Google Workspace.
The company has more than 300 customers and partners, such as Salesforce and Microsoft. In 2023, it plans to launch a product that will be sold directly to consumers.
The Origins of NameCoach
Even though my name was often pronounced wrong, I never thought it would lead to me starting my own business said CEO Praveen. NameCoach’s story is similar to that of many Silicon Valley tech start-ups: this is what happens when an unsolved, overlooked problem meets students with a little extra time on their hands.
When my sister graduated from college, I was working on my PhD in philosophy at Stanford. Our parents immigrated to the United States with many hopes for their children, one of which was to pursue a college education here.
So her graduation was a much-anticipated event for not only our immediate family but also for the many relatives who traveled from afar for her graduation. But when it came time for her to cross the stage, her name was spelled incorrectly, ruining the big moment we had all come to see.
When we heard my sister’s name mangled at graduation, I realized something that we’ve now heard many times from NameCoach users: there’s a subtle but real sense of alienation that occurs when your name is mispronounced.
This is amplified at important events like graduation because the graduate is front and center, and it’s not just the graduate’s moment but their family’s as well.
Nothing could take away our pride at seeing the fruits of her labor; however, like most families who see their graduate’s name misspelled, we felt that after so many years of involvement at this institution, the least they could do was properly recognize her and, as a result, recognize us.
Another important takeaway from the experience was the realization that her name wasn’t spelled incorrectly by accident.
This problem could be solved if people could hear how to say a name on demand, similar to how vocabulary words are pronounced on language-learning software.
During breaks from writing my dissertation, I began dabbling in programming, partly because I had a lot of friends who could teach me. I decided to create an app that would record students saying their names and deliver them to name readers for graduation.
The overwhelmingly positive response I received from faculty and students who used it prompted me to transform it from a fun project into a start-up with a larger vision.
They adored it and wanted to use it in situations other than graduation. I had other friends who wanted to help with the project as well.
We decided to devote our full attention to it, raising seed funding along the way, and we now have an incredible team and hundreds of schools utilizing our various software and services. We are thrilled to be able to help solve this problem that has been going on for a long time.
It raised an undisclosed amount of seed in 2021 and then $8 million in its latest funding round.