St. Louis-based voice assistant startup Disruptel is announcing that it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding. The money comes from an impressive group of investors who seem well-aligned with what the startup aims to do — namely, build a voice assistant that can provide detailed information about what’s happening on your TV screen. Those investors include PJC and Progress Ventures (which led the round), DataXu co-founder and former CEO Mike Baker, Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer, Sky executive Andrew Olson, and DataXu co-founder Bill Simmons. Disrupted CEO Alex Quinn told me that he began to pursue the idea in high school — the initial idea was more focused on TV gesture controls. Still, he decided that there was a more significant opportunity in the fact that “intelligent TVs don’t know what’s going on on their screen.
But he said that Amazon’s solution (as well as a similar one from Google) involves “static data — the videos have all been pre-processed.” With Disruptel, on the other hand, “everything is happening in real-time,” which means it could theoretically work with any piece of content. Disruptel’s flagship product, Context, is a voice assistant designed to work with smart TVs and their remotes. Quinn said he’s hoping to partner with innovative TV manufacturers and streaming services and get this into viewers’ hands in the second half of this year.