We are excited to share that Slang is one of Stage 2’s newest portfolio companies! We participated in Slang’s recent Series A alongside our friends and great investors at Homebrew, Wing, Underscore, and many other fantastic folks. You can read more about the round in Slang’s announcement here.
Have you ever tried calling a local restaurant or business with a simple question, only to hear the phone ring endlessly, get pushed to a voicemail, be left waiting on hold, or have the call dropped? And don’t even get us started on the cheerfully-stated-but-wholly-unhelpful “This voicemail box is full and cannot take any further messages. Goodbye!”
If any of that rings true, then you are familiar with the problem Slang solves. Slang is an AI-powered digital phone concierge that can answer a wide range of customer questions. And the problem Slang solves goes far beyond soothing customer frustration. Whether to pick up the phone is a business conundrum that has been around for decades, as we heard from many of the business owners and Slang customers we spoke with during our diligence.
On the one hand, businesses can staff someone to answer their incoming calls, or instruct an employee to pick up the phone — but labor is always tight, particularly in 2023. Most calls take up valuable staff time that could be used to interact with live customers. On the other hand, they could ignore the calls altogether. But that approach risks upsetting customers and, more importantly, losing out on business from people who want to make a reservation, place an order, inquire about catering, or plan an event. Slang helps businesses balance this equation, often handling >50% of incoming customer calls without ever needing to involve a person. For the calls Slang can’t handle, the business knows that they will be talking to a real customer, with real intent, about a non-standard issue. All that makes it much easier to justify answering the phone when it rings.
We loved hearing about how great Slang’s product was from their customers. And it is very timely with all of the recent progress in LLMs and modern AI techniques. We were also impressed with their rocket ship-level business results. But, the biggest source of our excitement in Slang came down to founders Alex Sambvani and Gabe Duncan, as well as the fantastic team and culture they have built thus far. Alex and Gabe met while working on large-scale voice AI projects at Spotify, where they worked as data scientists. They balance this technical depth and sophistication with a pragmatism and objectivity around their product, their business, and their goals for Slang’s future. The more we got to know them, the clearer it became that this was an investment we had to make.
We’re confident Slang has a bright future ahead, with the opportunity to revolutionize how businesses and customers interact. If you agree, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us or to them — they are hiring!