Will.I.Am won’t quit with his ridiculous attempts at innovation and now he’s taking on the biggest tech companies in the world with his own voice powered AI.
Did you know that ex-Black Eyed Pea Will.I.Am has his own tech startup called I.am+? If not probably because it’s a ridiculous attempt at entrepreneurship that has resulted in very little. If so then this news probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you.
Despite all the odds Will.I.Am has somehow managed to secure a big sum of $117 million in funding for his new voice assistant according to a report by Reuters. Why anyone would want to fund I.am+ following multiple failures and criticisms of their past tech is beyond me, but they have. According to the report a majority of the investment ($89 million) was raised in a funding round in March by an investment group including Salesforce Ventures.
Will.I.Am’s aim is to create another voice assistant in what has quickly become a saturated market with options from Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), Apple (Siri), and others. Speaking on his new product he said: “I wanted to create something that allows us to do many things. There’s so much you can do with a voice platform.”
Will.I.Am’s voice assistant, called Omega, will see its first use with German telecommunications company and parent of T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom AG. According to Reuters’ report they have been using Omega since July this year to power an automated customer support bot with plans to add voice integration soon. So at least someone takes it seriously, whether they can grow from here to an established technology though is anyone’s guess.
I.am+ has been all about creating ‘wearable’ tech with fashion in mind and is now a company employing around 300 people (somehow). If that were something anyone really seemed worried about then it could have been successful, but just look at Apple’s ugly Airpods. The fact is what people really want is quality builds from trusted brands or innovative startups not a rapper-cum-popstar-cum-developer. It seems they got the message and moved away from fashion, but I don’t think that jumping on a bandwagon is the way to create success.