What if you communicated with colleagues at work in the same way we send emojis, GIFs, videos, photos, and other image-based files to our friends and family throughout the day?
Voodle wants to find out.
The Seattle startup just launched a short-form video app that aims to change how employees share information across an organization. The idea is to replace long video calls or text-based notes with bite-sized selfie-oriented video clips about customer updates, status reports, account progress, and lighter work-related moments.
Voodle is the result of a major pivot. Its employees previously worked together at Pixvana, which built immersive video editing software and had raised $20 million from investors including Vulcan Capital, Microsoft Ventures, Cisco Investments, Madrona Venture Group, and others.
Pixvana shuttered toward the end of 2019 after CEO Forest Key realized that “AR/VR might just not be relevant right now in the world, in any appreciable business scale way.” Many startups in the mixed reality industry have struggled in recent years as the technology has yet to catch on with mainstream consumers.
“While the XR market has progressed in numerous ways, it has yet to cross the chasm from early to wide adoption, nor developed into an industry broad enough to support a business like ours,” Key wrote in a blog post.
Voodle was born after Key and other Pixvana execs saw an opportunity to apply social-based communication styles into the workplace.
“Sometimes a Slack message just doesn’t provide enough context but no one wants to add yet another Zoom call to an already cluttered calendar,” Rachel Lanham, chief customer officer, wrote in a blog post.
The video clips are searchable and channel based. They come with transcriptions and can be shared via other workplace apps such as Salesforce or Hubspot.
Voodle was created before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but it could prove to be much more valuable as people work from home.
“Voodle has helped streamline the way our team connects and stays aligned day-to-day, since going remote,” Amy Balliett, CEO of Killer Visual Strategies, said in a statement.
Lanham said the app can also help create efficiencies. One of the early use cases with beta testers is replacing long daily video calls with Voodle clips.
“The daily standup can take an hour to go through everyone,” Lanham told GeekWire. “With Voodle, everyone does a 30-second video. Then I can flip through the people on my team and watch the ones I think are most important, or just look at the transcript. It can create that connectivity without a massive time suck or Zoom fatigue.”
Lanham said the company is ironing out a revenue model but expects to offer free and paid versions.
Voodle has not raised additional funding. Other former Pixvana execs now helping lead Voodle include CFO Lisa Ryan Tripathi; VP of Engineering Jessica Turner; CMO Tamara Turner; and Beverly Vessella, head of product.
Pixvana co-founders Scott Squires, Bill Hensler, and Sean Safreed are not involved with Voodle.
Founded in 2015, Pixvana had shifted from targeting consumers to an enterprise focus via VR training services.
Key, a former leader at Microsoft and Adobe, previously sold Seattle hotel marketing startup Buuteeq to Priceline in 2014.