For IIT Madras alumnus Rajesh Bindal, it was a big leap of faith to quit his job in 2017 to work full-time on a platform for building voice apps, which would be user-friendly even for technological novices. Previously leading the tech team at Fidelity Investments, Bindal was aware of the problems faced by customers while reaching out to the respective companies with their queries.
Initially, his idea was quite vague. He wanted to build a device for simplifying feedback mechanisms for businesses and government organisations by eliminating the middlemen involved in customer care. It was only while working on his plan that he realised this could have multiple applications. He was saved from the work of building a device when he came across Alexa devices (then available abroad) and had them imported from the UK.
Bindal’s GoVocal.AI is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, which helps users to build voice responses for virtual assistants with the help of written commands instead of coding. It is platform-agnostic unlike its competitors, which are focusing on a specific platform. Not just enterprises and content developers, individuals too can use the platform to add commands to their personal IoT home devices.
“The platform is compatible with every voice assistant available in the market such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana,” says Bindal. Users can set the commands once and simultaneously publish them on multiple platforms. He adds that the platform would be compatible with any new device that gets launched in the future. The exception, however, is Apple’s Siri, which is not yet open for other app developers to create voice skills.
With accuracy in voice recognition reaching 95% and Alexa providing its services in 10 different languages, Bindal, too, has managed to have languages such as Hindi and different accents of English on his platform. Soon, he plans to expand his services in regional languages. At present, the start-up offers a subscription pack starting at $39/month apart from customised service for businesses and enterprises, whose pricing will vary depending on the number of skills created.
“Finding the right people to hire and training them to build such a software was a challenge initially,” says Bindal who now runs a six-member team. The Delhi-based start-up has already officially partnered with Amazon as an Alexa skill developing platform. It will soon enter into a promotional partnership with Amazon wherein the platform will get listed on Amazon’s recommended apps for building Alexa skills.