“I’m based in Boston and the majority of my career has been spent in digital media. I have spent the majority of my life on planes. In fact, at one point I lived in Boston and worked in San Francisco and every week, I would fly back and forth between those places while my family was here in Boston, and I was working out there and that was where I kind of sparked my interest in this concept of working from anywhere.” This idea led Weishaupt to Owl Labs in 2018 at a time when Zoom and Microsoft Teams were gaining notoriety and spending time in the office was assumed rather than negotiated. “If you look back historically, one of the trends that we used to quote to customers was that people were starting to work from anywhere, and the data was trending in a positive direction. “2020 turned everything on its ear and hybrid work is here forever. Anybody that questions that I think is kidding themselves, because we’ve got a flavour of a better work and life balance that is favourable for the employees, and talent rules at the end of the day.” Opening Eyes The talent ruling may be a challenge for modern business but the UC&C industry will be quick to tell you that these platforms existed before the world locked down in 2020. Owl Labs was founded in 2014 by robotics experts Max Makeev and Mark Schnittman who raised a total of $7.3M in venture capital from seed and Series A rounds led by Andy Rubi, Antonio Rodriguez and iRobot Ventures.
Three years later, In June 2017, it announced its Meeting Owl device. “If you look at our flagship product,” said Weishaupt, “it is a device that sits at the centre of the table and it focuses on the person that is speaking in order to provide a more comfortable, face-to-face experience even though we could be thousands of miles away. “I think we essentially created a category at scale by having a software-driven piece of hardware sit at the centre of the table and be the director of the meeting. The entire industry has come along with us. “Now we have multiple cameras in the rooms that interact in a way so that no matter where I am in a room if someone starts talking to me I don’t miss out on that interaction. If I’m looking at a meeting owl but start to interact with
the television because someone is speaking that way, then another camera can give a face-first view. “If you look at our competitors they’re following along with this idea that cameras need to be able to see every angle of the conference room for the remote user.” This comfortable and “clean” experience is no accident, as Weishaupt said that the company takes a philosophical lead from the likes of Apple along with feedback from valued customers. “One thing I love about Apple products is that the experience is clean and easy. Every time that I buy
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