Learn how to validate your startup idea by pre-selling it, for only $80 (includes a free 1-hour consultancy call).

Yap

Speech to text translator
Amazon Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Software & Hardware
Started:
2006
BUSINESS FAILURE
Cause:
Acquisition Flu
Closed:
2011

Description

Founded in 2006 by the Jablokov brothers, Yap was an American technology company that created the Yap Speech Cloud, a fully cloud-based speech recognition system. It was a speech to text transcription solution that was used by companies like Microsoft for its Talk to Text Blackberry application.

In 2011, the company caught Amazon’s eye and the tech giant acquired it to help in the development of its wildly popular products Alexa, Echo, and Fire TV.

Ad

Around Logo

Video calls radically reimagined for the new way startup teams REALLY work today. Try Around for free →

Cause of Failure

Yap’s acquisition seemed to be quite secretive as no announcement was made by either company. It was only through the SEC filings that people figured out what had become of Yap.

At the time of the acquisition, Amazon’s rival companies such as Apple and Google had been focusing heavily on their voice recognition technology. Amazon, instead, didn’t have any voice control abilities in its products which was a disadvantage for the highly competitive company.

Buying Yap was a step in the right direction for Amazon and surely helped them in getting closer to their goals of creating products like Alexa and the Echo. However, some were confused by the decision as Yap’s features had been quite different from the traditional voice control functionality needed for a product like Alexa.

The developer of Yap, Jeff Adams, started working for Amazon after his company got acquired. He revealed that Amazon had acquired Yap because it required the skills of the team to create Alexa. The founder of Yap recounts in an interview how he and his team had to essentially start over. In the end, they were able to make some great developments which led to Amazon’s popular voice-activated product, Alexa.

References

The All-In-One Newsletter for Startup Founders

Every week, I’ll send you Failory’s latest interviews and articles and 3 curated resources for founders. Join +16,000 other startup founders!