Superpowered: The YC-Backed Productivity App’s Transformation into a Voice API Platform for Bots

Calendar apps are essential for productivity but it is hard to differentiate enough to have sustained growth from just the core usage. Y Combinator-backed Superpowered, which is an AI-powered notetaker for your meetings that doesn’t involve recording bots, hit this roadblock and is now pivoting to become Vapi, an API provider so anyone can easily create a natural-sounding voice-based AI-powered assistant.

Image Credits: Vapi

To date, Superpowered/Vapi has raised $2.1 in seed money from investors including Kleiner Perkins and Abstract Ventures.

Pivot to Vapi

The company offers Vapi as an API to let developers create a bot using just prompts — it then put it behind a phone number. Additionally, it offers an SDK integration so developers can embed the bot on websites and mobile apps.

Dearsley told TechCrunch over email that the idea to build Vapi stemmed from a personal problem. He had moved to San Fransisco and started missing his friends and family, who were in a different time zone. He built an AI bot attached to a phone number on the other end to talk to someone in order to sort his thoughts.
Technically, Vapi is currently using a string of third-party APIs to build a robust voice conversation platform. For instance, it uses solutions from Twilio for telephony, Deepgram for transcription, Daily for audio streaming, OpenAI for responses, and PlayHT for text-to-speech.

Challenges for Vapi

One of the biggest challenges the startup has is to reduce latency, according to Magnus Revan, an ex-Gartner analyst and chief product officer at multimodal conversation startup

Mohamed Musbah, an angel investor in Vapi also said that the startup’s solution will improve with overall advances in API.
Dearsley said that reliance on other APIs reduces Vapi’s defensibility if big companies start moving into that area. However, the team said that it has an edge in terms of having built infrastructure to handle thousands of calls simultaneously. Dearsley emphasized that with Vapi’s web and phone API launch for the public, the team will also look to build its own models for audio-to-audio solutions.

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