Meetings are an overwhelming, and often dreaded, part of many jobs. But if Gentry Underwood has his way that will soon change thanks to AI and his new startup, Navigator.
Underwood isn’t new to starting a company. Back in 2013, he sold his startup Mailbox, a mobile email app, to Dropbox for a reported $100 million. The app was only 37 days old, and over half a million people were still waiting in line to try out the app, when it was acquired.
On Tuesday, he wrote a blog post about Navigator, a teamwork assistant powered by artificial intelligence. It’s supposed to help people work together and handle menial tasks like putting together agendas, suggesting questions to ask in a meeting, or gathering feedback. It was created by the same team behind Mailbox.
“Following the wind-down, some of us from the team would go on long walks to debrief and reminisce,” Gentry wrote in a Medium blog post. “And as we talked, we realized that we still had the same itch — we still believed that software was ripe with potential for transforming teamwork well beyond anything humanity had yet seen. And so we decided to try again.”
Gentry wrote that in the past few years, his team had been working with over 50 teams and experimenting with various ways to make workplace collaboration more effective. Currently, Mailbox is free while it’s in beta. It will roll out a paid version later this year.
With Navigator, the team plans to create an assistant that can facilitate team and 1-on-1 meetings by reaching out to attendees, gathering discussion topics, organizing an agenda, taking notes, and following up with attendees after the meeting.
Although Navigator is currently focusing on team and 1-on-1 meetings, it plans to eventually support other types of meetings and to incorporate advanced capabilities for making decisions, gathering feedback, and solving problems.
“It might feel far-fetched to imagine working alongside a ‘robot’, but in many ways it makes the perfect teammate,” Gentry wrote. “It’s always available. It can have multiple conversations simultaneously. And it’s proficient at running repeatable processes in consistent, reliable ways.”
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