Disruptel raises $1.1M to make smart TVs smarter – TechCrunch

St. Louis-based voice assistant startup Interrupt It is announcing that it has increased seed funding by $ 1.1 million.

The money comes from an influential group of investors who engage well with targeting startups – namely, build a voice assistant that provides detailed information about what’s happening on your TV screen Can. Those investors include PJC and Progress Ventures (led the round) as well as DataXu co-founder and former CEO Mike Baker, Siri co-founder Adam Cheer, Sky executive Andrew Olson and DataXu co-founder Bill Simmons Huh.

Disrupted CEO Alex Quinn told me that he began working to pursue the idea in high school – initial ideas were more focused on TV’s gesture controls, but he decided that there was a huge opportunity in the fact that “not smart TV” Know what’s happening on your screen

So he said that DisPreel created a technology that “has a relevant understanding of everything happening on the screen – every product, that data.” For example, you can use technology to ask your TV, “Who is the person in the brown shirt?”

Quinn’s description reminded me of Amazon’s X-ray technology, which can tell you about on-screen actors, as well as additional general knowledge about whatever movie or TV you’re watching on Amazon Prime. But he said that Amazon’s solution (as well as a similar one from Google) has “static data – videos all pre-processed.” With disruption, on the other hand, “everything is happening in real time,” meaning that it can theoretically work with any piece of content.

Disruption’s flagship product theme is a voice assistant designed to work with smart TVs and their remotes. Quinn said she looks forward to partnering with smart TV manufacturers and streaming services and will take it into viewers’ hands in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, the company has already created A smart screen extension For Google Chrome that you can try now (using the extension, I’ve successfully identified the actors on screen during several scenes of the episode “The Flash”). Quinn said the company is using the extension to test the product and gather engagement data.

Baker (who sold his edtech company Detxu to Roku in 2019) said he was confident of returning the company after seeing a demo of the product: “It was interesting to see the power, the fluidity of the experience.”

He also suggested that disruptive technology creates new opportunities to improve the smart TV advertising experience, which he described as largely “rubbish” – although he also cited Hulu as an example of such a service Which can succeed with “non-intrusive. Advertising and interstitial advertising.

Asked how a high school student could create such a technique, Quinn (who is now 21) said, “We had to learn. Our team is very focused on machine learning, and our machine learning engineers were reading research paper after research paper. We feel that we have found the best research solution. “

He said that if Destruct followed the lead of the big players and focused on pre-processing materials, “we never started this journey.”