The idea for Owl Labs was born when Owl Labs' cofounder and CTO Mark Schnittman was working remotely for a startup in Las Vegas while living in Boston. As one of the only remote employees, meeting and working with a group of people sitting together was incredibly painful. It was hard to see what was going on, difficult to hear what people were saying, and a challenge to actively contribute.
It became clear that current video conferencing tools are not optimized for remote participants and don’t provide them with a helpful, inclusive experience. Technologies today often leave remote employees feeling like a “fly on a wall” or a mere lurker during in-person team meetings. That's not right.
CEO Max Makeev joined Mark in founding Owl Labs with the mission to fix video conferencing for the remote employee.
Their solution was the Meeting Owl, an intelligent 360°all-in-one video conferencing device that centers virtual conferencing around remote participants. Our mission is to create the inclusive meeting experience remote employees deserve. It will be one of the first IoT devices for the company conference room.
Founded in 2014, Owl Labs was seeded by Playground Global Ventures and was the first company to join Playground's West Coast Design Studio, founded by Android co-creator Andy Rubin to take advantage of the IoT hardware advances brought by the smartphone revolution.
Antonio Rodriguez of Matrix Partners later led Owl Labs’ $6M Series A investment. Max and Mark then chose Boston as their home to build the team, go to market and scale the company. Owl Labs has raised 7.3M in funding to date.
Owl Labs has deep roots both from iRobot and HubSpot. Starting with cofounders Max and Mark, a total of six Owl Labs employees are iRobot alumni, making robotics and hardware a strong element of the company's DNA. Karen Rubin and Rebecca Corliss, two of Owl Labs' most recent leadership hires, were both among the 50 first employees at HubSpot.
Today with a team of just under 20 employees, a strong mix of in-person and remote, Owl Labs plans to launch its first product this summer in support of remote employees everywhere.