“If you were to record everything, it would be useless,” claimed Rami Salman, founder and CEO of Wrappup. “But, if you could surface the most important moments and pieces of information relevant to you, you can unlock a whole world of potential.”
For the team behind productivity app Wrappup, time is the problem that needs to be solved. More specifically, the unnecessary time spent at countless, long meetings.
Salman met his cofounders Ayush Chordia and Rishav Jalan at AngelHack Dubai in May 2015. In less than a year, the trio has traveled to the holy land of Silicon Valley, won the AngelHack Global Demo Day, met Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and are closing out a seed round with local investors.
Something to leverage
Having officially launched in a private beta program in October 2015, Wrappup uses smart voice recording to summarize meeting discussions and make meeting recordings searchable.
According to Chordia it enables users to capture information, filter it to identify the most important moments, and create actionable intelligence.
“There’s so much that you say that goes unrecorded,” said Salman. “The most natural way you know how to communicate, which is speech…why aren’t we leveraging that? We’re not telepathic [and] we don’t only communicate through visuals.”
It was 2011 when Salman was a consultant at Bain & Co. in Dubai when the idea of recording all conversations came about. Managing multiple projects and attending even more meetings eventually led to him staying up endless nights sending follow up action-items and notes.
“I had this thought of why can’t I record the discussion, tag an important moment, play that, and use it for my notes and send a follow up,” Salman said.
Pitching and winning
With that thought, Salman walked into the AngelHack and used 20 seconds of his 60 second pitch time to explain his idea.
Chordia and Jalan, then students at BITS Pilani Dubai, immediately latched on to developing the possibility. Then 21 years old, Chordia had already founded a mobile app startup called Fuse. Jalan, 20 at the time, was the top Windows coder in the UAE and had more than 2 million downloads combined, for Live Cricket MAX, a cricket score app and TrackMyTrain for the Indian Railways he had developed as personal projects.
Along with Salman, plus a growth hacking specialist and a UI/UX designer the college friends built Wrappup in 14 hours, pitched to judges, and won the hackathon. Salman began to successfully use the app at work the next day.
Today, Salman manages strategy and vision for the company, Chordia takes care of the platform’s backend and machine learning as lead cloud developer, and Jalan orchestrates the complete front end design of the Android-based app as lead Android developer.
The app currently allows users to load a meeting agenda, record the meeting with structured information through its “highlight” feature, send out that information as meeting notes, and host it on the cloud, powered Microsoft Azure. The team also joined Microsoft’s startup support program BizSpark.
The next goal is to finish the product on Android and duplicate it for iOS.
Recently, the team added ‘group notes’, a multi-user input feature that allows groups to tag their notes to the same meeting in real-time. As an extension of this, they have a crowdsourced mic algorithm which enables larger meeting rooms to be covered by multiple phone mics using Wrappup, such that the audio recording is synced and audio compounded from all participants.
The app also includes a ‘speech to text’ transcription powered by IBM Watson, along with a phonetics based search engine - built within a week - to enable search results based on sound, instead of merely text, for greater accuracy. At the end of a meeting, the final notes can also be put through sentiment [frustration, happiness, confidence] and time analyses to truly evaluate meeting efficiency.
The revenue model is split into building customized platform for enterprises a two- tiered approach a la Dropbox and Slack, with the target audience as millennials and archivists.
“Millennials grew up with their parents documenting everything in their lives and everything being documented in their life,” Salman said. “Take that to the business environment, and you want the guy who knows technology can help promote better results…your ideal user is also your archivist i.e. a consultant, a salesman, media member, people whose job role actually includes capturing notes.”
The team is emphatic that Wrappup is a habit-changing product, which is why fifteen multinational companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Emirates Airlines are the current testing grounds for the app along with individual users.
Charles Blaschke, CEO of energy efficiency company Taka Solutions, is also among this early group of users.
The Wrappup team joined Taka Solutions’ weekly meeting late last year to test the benefits of the app.
“We know we’re inefficient at our meetings… we go too long,” Blaschke said. The meeting concluded after three hours and the Wrappup team pointed out how time was spent.
“It was really surprising,” Blaschke said. “We are engineers, so we like numbers, we like analytics [and this] helps us focus. All of a sudden, we had the meeting minutes in our inbox, and we’d never had that before, in general.”
“We are driving a tech-based innovation out of a region that’s not known for it yet,” Salman explained. But, if you look around there’s, unbelievable entrepreneurial talent, technical talent and there’s an adaptable and responsive market mentality- look at how quickly this city was built.”
“It’s a really good place to build,” affirmed Chordia. “Yes, it’s a developing ecosystem. but there’s so much learning you can get [here].”
Acknowledging that the market is risk averse, Salman said the onus is on the entrepreneur to continue innovating because “you cannot control anything - the customer, investor or market - you can only control what you’re building”.
As for Wrappup, the team has big plans for its implementation, including healthcare, education, and memory building.
“Our launching ground is the meeting room. It’s a place where people exchange extremely valuable information that everyone needs, “ said Salman. “In the future Wrappup is something that stays with you throughout the day. It is your life memory… I want it to be the personal assistant to my brain.”