Voiceflow raises $4.7 million CAD following takeover of American competitor


Voice app design and development platform Voiceflow has raised a nearly $4.7 million CAD seed round, following an announcement of what it called a “partnership” with US voice app design startup Invocable.

“The market of a tool for creating voice applications relies on the success of voice applications, which is not there yet.”
-Invocable CEO

Invocable’s features are being integrated into its Canadian competitor’s platform, and the Invocable company will be shutting down in July.

According to a statement from Voiceflow, its new platform will power four percent of the world’s Alexa skills. The news of this partnership comes several months after another competitor platform, PullString, was acquired by Apple.

“We’re incredibly excited to be working with the Invocable team to integrate our technologies to build the industry standard platform for designing and deploying voice experiences,” said Voiceflow CEO Braden Ream. “Invocable has built an incredible design platform and roadmap which will help us make voice experiences more conversational, collaborative, and accessible to everyone.”

Last November, Toronto-based Voiceflow pivoted its platform and rebranded from Storyflow to Voiceflow. In October, the company raised $500,000 in seed funding led by Ripple Ventures.

Voiceflow began in voice building and voice shopping apps, and eventually, interactive children’s stories on Alexa. For its early projects, Voiceflow used code-free skill-building tool Storyline (now Invocable), according to a Medium post by Ream. Months later, Ream said, Voiceflow became frustrated with the technical limitations of the US company, so the co-founders decided to build their own tool that could leverage coding and have an ease of visual design. This information was shared in a Medium post from Voiceflow, that appears to have since been edited to exclude the previous information.

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“Many of the best features of the Invocable platform will be carried over into Voiceflow,” Ream wrote about the current takeover of the US company’s platform. “Our hope with this partnership is to get closer to our goal of building the industry standard platform for designing, prototyping, and building voice interfaces.”

Invocable rebranded from Storyline around the same time that Voiceflow pivoted last October. It was branded as Voiceflow’s key competitor, offering very similar services. Invocable also replaced the company’s key product and name, in what Ream called “a total coincidence.” Less than a year after the US company rebranded, and in the months following a $650,000 raise, Invocable is shutting down in July.

“We’re proud of everything we accomplished here at Invocable, and we wanted to say thank you to all of our customers. We learned so much working with you and we are indebted to you for your support and partnership,” wrote Invocable’s co-founder and CEO Vasili Shynkarenka in a company blog post. “The market of a tool for creating voice applications relies on the success of voice applications, which is not there yet.”

Voiceflow’s seed round, which was announced today was led by True Ventures. And the company plans to expand its team, (currently sitting at 12 people), by hiring more engineers. Voiceflow will also continue to develop its platform using the new funding.

Over the next three months, Invocable and Voiceflow teams will be setting up the migration of Invocable’s users to Voiceflow. Current Invocable users will receive an email from the Voiceflow product team to book a demo. Invocable payments will end, and users’ most recent month will be refunded, and they will have the option to join Voiceflow’s paid plan.

Image courtesy Voiceflow via Medium.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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