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Witty Works

Unlocking high performance teams with inclusive language

Switzerland
Market: Internet and IT, Artificial Intelligence
Stage of the project: Operating business

Date of last change: 11.06.2021
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Idea

Our B2B SaaS detects unconscious stereotypes in communication thanks to a de-biased language AI data model. It supports companies to consistently apply inclusive language and corporate language rules.

Current Status

We won 30+ customers in last 12 months.
MRR May 2021: EUR 12’000.

All branches buy from us:
Insurances
Banks
Technology
Industry
Tech Startups
Consultancy
Media

Market

Our tool can be sold to any company who is looking for a concrete solution for their pain point of D&I. Currently, we mostly have two groups of clients: large corporates having a clear pressure from laws and reputation to do something concrete about D&I; medium sized enterprises who want to make sure that they are attractive for diverse talent.

The following sales strategy has proven to work: Product led growth. Due to a free trial of 7 days, employees try it out individually and then tell their team about it. Or we call them after the free trial to get the lead of their team. That is our entry point. The team subscribes and makes a first experience. Together with the client we expand the use of inclusive language to the rest of the departments, subsidiaries and branches in other countries. Mostly the marketing/employer branding becomes aware of it; later internal communications and then the executives.

In average a mid-sized company spends approx. EUR 280k per year on diversity trainings or control of communication. That is EUR 11.3 bn / year in DACH and UK region. Tendency increasing. Google spends USD 150 mio / year on D&I.

Problem or Opportunity

With old language, companies stay trapped in the past
86 % of companies see investing in DEI as a business imperative to:

- Comply with laws that require diversity (Example: In Germany, rejected applicants can sue if job ad is discriminating)
- Foster innovation (Google spends USD 150m on D&I per year. 25% of diversity in mgmt equals to 10% more revenue from innovation.)
- Manage reputational and legal risk (The “CrossFit CEO” effect: 1 discriminating tweet destroyed reputation, customer loyalty and sponsorship contracts)
- Ensure employee and client attraction & retention (In the US, cost of disengagement by employees who perceive bias is USD 440 bn)

Solution (product or service)

Our B2B SaaS detects unconscious stereotypes in communication thanks to a de-biased language AI data model. It supports companies to consistently apply inclusive language and corporate language rules.

Language forms reality. Employees get confronted with their own unconscious stereotypes on a daily basis while using the app therefore helping them to change behaviour step by step. The company develops an inclusive culture.

Competitors

Grammarly
Target: B2C/B2B
Target client: whole company
Pricing: EUR 118/user/year
Revenue: EUR 50m/year
Funding: EUR 170m
Established: 2008

Textio
Target: B2B
Target client: HR
Pricing: EUR 1800/user/year
Revenue: EUR 21m/year
Funding: EUR 25m
Established: 2014

Advantages or differentiators

Our competitive advantage
- De-biased data model from the start -> embracing social movements; Grammarly has not worked on bias at the start of their algorithm and thus the bias is enshrined in their algorithm.
- English and German -> a reason large companies contracted with us. That is why companies turn away from Textio.
- Corporate language rules -> sustainable lock-in. Companies need to have a low threshold tool to enforce these rules.
- Private cloud -> compliance risk removed
- Product led growth -> we are well connected to communities of unterrepresented groups giving us input on language trends and carrying our product into the companies.

Finance

Two revenue streams
- Directly from the companies vis subscriptions for their employees (analogue to Slack or Google suite)
- Through third party software that uses our API.

Depending on the use and features underlying the browser extension, the pricing is different.
- Freemium to entice users
- basic features for freelancers / authors: EUR 128 / year
- HR / Mktg / Comm - depts of comapnies: EUR 146 / year / user
- normal employees for informal communication: EUR 96 / year / user

Business model

The Diversifier is a B2B SaaS offering one- to multi-year contracts with globally active corporations. Our clients buy subscriptions for their employees, who then get access to the browser plugin. Depending on what kind of texts the employee writes, there will be different features underlying our algorithm, being specific to the employee’s department.
We also make sure that larger corporations can customize the language rules based on their own internal corporate language rules. (Example: Audi has a 15page language rule paper that employees should apply when writing. Naturally that just isn’t done because people do not write with a 15page pdf on their side.) We know this from other companies as well.
From feedback from EY or UBS we know that corporations working in highly sensitive industries cannot use a language tool that is on the public cloud. That is why we will offer a private cloud option for them.

Money will be spent on

Use of proceeds: 42% in development, 56% in sales/marketing, 2% mgmt support

The investment is for a runway of 24 months and allows us to reach EUR 1.3 mio until end of 2022.

Offer for investor

Equity

Team or Management

Risks

There are two:
Do we have enough data to feed the machine learning algorithm?
Description: Since we cannot use any established AI-language framework to build a de-biased language model, we need to have our own data input.
Solution:
We already have several hundred job ads and also other inclusive writings (career pages) where we can compare inclusive vs. non-inclusive coming from our own tool diversifier.witty.works.
We are planning to do a Innosuisse project together with ETH AI Center in order to crowdsource language trends.
Can large corporates easily adapt our solution?
Description: It is difficult for large corporates to adapt solutions that cannot be integrated into their architecture (public cloud).
Solution: This is why we develop private clouds for such clients so that they can use our tool in accordance with internal data protection rules.

Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment

Grow F: We're currently enrolled in their 3-month online accelerator program that supports highly innovative and scalable female-led ventures.

DB Mindbox: We're one of the winners which will get the exclusive opportunity to develop a prototype and/or test a product in the DB Live environment within a 100-day proof of concept.

Won the competition and other awards

Winner of DB Mindbox https://www.dbmindbox.com/ 2021
Winner of https://fembizswiss.ch/ 2020
Winner of Swiss HR Award https://www.swisshraward.ch/ 2020
Entrepreneur of the year, Handelszeitung und SKO https://www.handelszeitung.ch/ 2020

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Idea
Current Status
Market
Problem or Opportunity
Solution (product or service)
Competitors
Advantages or differentiators
Finance
Invested in previous rounds, $
Business model
Money will be spent on
Offer for investor
Team or Management
Mentors & Advisors
Lead investor
Risks
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
Won the competition and other awards
Invention/Patent
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Product Video