Future of Work Startup Waitroom is Now Rumi.AI

One of the trends in tech I have enjoyed following is something we have dubbed “remote tech”. I must credit my fellow analyst Mike Boland for the neologism. It captures the software stack supporting the future of work. Much of it involves making video meetings better. 

This still very small ecosystem includes Howard Lerman‘s Roam and David Shim’s Read.ai. 

Many would of course argue that Zoom is the OG of remote tech. Perhaps. But what sets apart the other remote tech players is that they emerged during or soon after the pandemic. Zoom was founded in 2011. Meanwhile, Roam and Read.ai both emerged in 2021. 

Enter Waitroom

Another entry to the remote tech ecosystem came from serial entrepreneur Vinny Lingham (Yoco, Civic) when he and his partners launched Waitroom in 2020. 

It is often true with startups that there is a lag between the formation of a business and the unveiling of its product. This was certainly the case with Waitroom, which we first wrote about in March of 2022. 

Waitroom, initially tried to adapt videoconferencing to the remote era. In fact its original positioning was as a way for business influencers to efficiently interact with their followers in a series of short video meetings. 

This is one area where Waitroom and Lerman’s Ro.am had something in common. Both startups saw a problem with the ethos of the default length of 30 minutes for an online meeting. Why should a meeting that should only take 5 minutes last 30 minutes? That makes no sense. 

Early on, Lingham and his team saw the potential for AI to transform how meetings are conducted. And how value is extracted from them.  For example, mining meeting transcripts to assign follow-ups, do sentiment analysis, and more. 

Shim has been building Read.ai on this AI foundation from day one. 

Will AI Turn Video Meetings into a Data Engine?

OK, Enter Rumi.ai

Now Waitroom is shedding its name, it is now called  Rumi.ai, and going all in on the intersection of meetings and AI.

“The new name is reflective of how we have seen the company evolve — from a basic idea in better meetings to a full suite of tools that enables exponentially higher levels of meeting productivity, and powered by AI,” Lingham told Localogy Insider. 

Lingham and the Waitroom team have been slowly pivoting in the AI direction since it launched the product in March of last year. The company relaunched (still as Waitroom) in March of this year, with an emphasis on AI and a clear move away from being a platform for influencers to interact with followers and more toward a video conferencing platform, with perhaps an emphasis on smaller enterprises. 

Lingham told us at the time of the relaunch that the company was targeting “smallish companies with a couple of hundred employees.” He did make clear that smaller companies that use videoconferencing heavily could also benefit. 

 So now the company is changing names less than a year after “relaunching.” A skeptic might wonder if these are signals that the platform is struggling to find traction. 

However, Lingham’s explanation for the name change does make sense on its face. The original name, Waitroom, invokes the original idea of stacking up followers in a digital waiting room in order to get five minutes with their favorite business guru. 

Now the business is a platform that leads with AI as the solution to making meetings not just more efficient, but also more effective. More results-oriented, more accountable, and so on.

And let’s face it, “Waitroom” really isn’t the right name for the company’s new mission.  

The AI Note Taker in the Meeting

Lingham made it very clear that his startup’s vision is all in on AI when he joined us for a fireside chat at Localogy’s L23 earlier this year in San Diego.  Much of what Lingham described in our talk with him evoked the notion of the AI tools as an extra video meeting attendee who takes meticulous notes. Not to mention holds everyone accountable, and surfaces issues others may not spot. 

“If you have one thousand employees and four to five thousand meetings per day, how do you activate, and coordinate across the organization? If the production team is having a meeting and something is delayed. And the logistics team is having a meeting and they don’t know that,” Lingham said on stage at the L23 event. 

“Wouldn’t it be cool if AI just automatically gave a report to the right manager? Or to the CEO that said, ‘We have a conflict.’.”

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