Poised: Democratizing Access to Speech Coaches

Zach DeWitt | June 9, 2021

On average, we spend a third of our work week in meetings. We have all experienced the gut-wrenching pressure of high-stakes presentations and meetings. Not “landing the pitch” or effectively painting the vision for an idea can unfortunately be career limiting. In fact, 70% of professionals believe that presentation skills are critical for career success and progression.

To improve, we are left turning to colleagues and friends to help coach us, but they often aren’t in the right meeting with us. Even when we do get feedback, the feedback is not specific enough or actionable. Others turn to speech coaches, but they are expensive, time-consuming, and hard to access. There needs to be a better service to help us improve our communication skills that is readily available to everyone.

Enter Poised. Poised is an AI-powered speech coach that democratizes access to coaching. Poised is effortless, yet powerful. A new user connects Poised to her calendar and Poised automatically launches in the background during meetings, listening only to the user’s voice to provide discrete, valuable, real-time feedback. Poised can remind us to slow down, speak with more energy or be conscious of our frequent filler words. Poised uses the latest advancements in machine learning to provide personalized coaching both in real-time and post-meeting. Users track performance over time, set goals, and access educational content through a rich dashboard.

When we first met CEO Charles Hua, COO Somya Mohan and CTO Vicky Sehrawat, we were blown away by the team’s technical expertise and deep passion for speech coaching. Charles had previously been a respected product manager at Amazon Alexa and has been working to level up his communication skills for the last decade.

We are thrilled to lead the seed round for Poised, along with our friends Jeff Weiner (formerly LinkedIn), Adam Grant (UPenn), Brianne Kimmell (Worklife VC), Jason Spinnell (Slack Fund), Andre Iguodala and many other great investors. If you want a personalized speech coach at your side for every meeting, sign up for the Poised beta product and follow the team’s progress on Twitter. And if you’re interested in joining this remarkable and talented team, please apply here.

At Wing, we are big believers in the power and importance of communication and voice applications—voice is a treasure trove of valuable data waiting to be unlocked and actionized by AI/ML. We’ve had conviction around the voice space for years and have supported the growth of this sector with early investments in Gong, Deepgram, and others. We believe Poised has the potential to use speech data to become a trusted coach for every professional in the world. Congrats to the team and we are excited to support you in the years ahead!

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