A case study.
It’s every startup’s dream to partner with a big company. The benefits are innumerable, from invaluable brand-by-association to wildly cost-effective customer acquisition.
Otter.AI, a speech-to-text app, accomplished just that by partnering with Zoom, a company around three orders of magnitude larger, by valuation. Zoom now offers live transcription powered by Otter.AI’s API.
Here’s what we can learn from their partnership.
Zoom boasts 300 million daily meeting participants, but their position as the #1 meeting app is far from guaranteed.
In fact, Microsoft Teams is quickly catching up, with 115 million users, while Google Meet has over 100 million users. Skype is further down the list with 40 million daily users. Ultimately, the space is highly competitive.
Thus, in order to succeed, Zoom needs to constantly innovate and improve the value-add for consumers, lest they turn to competitors.
Being able to transcribe meetings to refer back to later is a huge value-add for Zoom, so this is partnership is a big win-win.
Many big companies offer tried-and-tested speech-to-text APIs, including Google and Microsoft. However, it wouldn’t make any sense for Zoom to use these, as the companies are directly competitive (recall Google Meets and Microsoft Teams).
Otter.AI has its own, proprietary speech-to-text algorithm, so it’s one of the few real options for Zoom to implement a transcription feature.
Of course, Zoom could theoretically build out its own speech-to-text algorithm, but it’d be a needless expense. Otter.AI uses “millions of hours of recordings to train [their] deep learning algorithm,” so they’ve built a highly-advanced technological product, and re-building the wheel isn’t in Zoom’s best interests.
Another important factor is finding common ground. Otter.AI and Zoom have very similar mission statements.
With this new partnership, Zoom is making good on its promise. Otter.AI’s technology is now solving big technical challenges for Zoom, to help make video communications frictionless.
Indeed, Zoom has fulfilled the second part of its mission statement as well by acquiring Keybase, bringing end-to-end encryption to meetings.
For startups looking to partner with big companies, this serves as a powerful case study.
Otter.AI found a win-win, competition-free opportunity built on common-ground, managing to partner with a company three orders of magnitude larger.