Startland News is continuing its “Fund Me, KC” series to highlight area entrepreneurs’ efforts to accelerate their businesses or lend a helping hand to others. This is an opportunity for business owners and innovators — like Kansas City artificial intelligence startup Mycroft AI — to share their crowdfunding stories and potentially gain backing from new supporters.
Who are you?
I’m Kris Adair, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Mycroft alongside Joshua Montgomery. I helped develop and execute the social media strategy for Mycroft’s crowdfunding investment effort, and serve as our startup’s social media manager.
If you’ve been with us for a while now, you know what we are all about: taking control of your privacy.
What you might not know, is that you currently have an opportunity for equity investment in Mycroft AI, Inc. through a crowdfunding campaign. You, your friends and family can join significant investments from accelerators like Techstars and 500 Startups as well as professional investors like Albert Wenger, TechNexus, Social Starts and Deep Space Ventures to bring the world a private open source voice assistant.
Click here to go directly to the StartEngine crowdfunding page.
What does your campaign hope to accomplish?
Mycroft is a voice assistant that provides customers with all of the features they’ve come to expect from Big Tech while preserving their privacy. Our community of more than 60,000 developers and early adopters has built a full-stack voice solution that is the leading open source alternative to Alexa, Siri, and Assistant.
With $1 million in pre-orders for our Mycroft Mark II device, we’re planning for consumer-ready production and are currently beta testing with development kits.
What’s your ‘why’?
Mycroft is, at its core, an idea. It is the idea that we each are entitled to privacy, technology, and access to that technology in the native languages that we speak. That idea shouldn’t be revolutionary. But based on the current corporate view of the user, it is. That is why Mycroft needs to exist. That is why we need your help to fund making this technology stronger than the giants.
Mycroft believes in an open Internet, user agency, privacy and the future of voice. If you are willing to take a risk in the fastest growing market in tech, support Mycroft with an investment and show Big Tech that there is an alternative to using the customer’s privacy as a revenue generator.
Click here to learn more about Mycroft.
How do you plan to use the funds?
Mycroft has successfully completed two perks-based crowdfunding campaigns. The first shipped a prototype to backers in 2017 and the second has now more than $1 million in pre-orders awaiting fulfillment. The company also has several channel partners who are working on large engagements with healthcare providers and educational institutions.
Funds from the crowdfunding effort are expected to be used to help hire a contract manufacturer and ultimately deliver the Mark II pre-orders.
Anything else readers should know about the Mycroft AI or this effort?
According to Markets and Markets Research, the global voice assistant market is $25B and growing annually. It is the fastest adopted technology, ever. A sizable percentage of global consumers want the convenience and features of a smart speaker but privacy concerns have kept them from buying Big Tech speakers.
This has created a huge opportunity for Mycroft, as the acknowledged open source leader. Big Tech’s missteps make it impossible for them to address this market segment which Mycroft expertly fills, with its full-feature voice assistant that protects customer privacy.
The voice assistant market continues to grow rapidly while a sizable percentage of the public is sitting on the sidelines because of privacy concerns. This opportunity represents nearly 20 percent of a $25 billion annual market.
Mycroft has demonstrated market demand by shipping a first-generation prototype to more than 56 countries and developer kits for its second-generation product to dozens of others. We currently have more than $1 million in pre-orders on the books including large orders from channel partners looking to install Mycroft in healthcare settings.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation works to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity.