© Verble
Author profile picture

About Verble

  • Founders: Victor Straatman, Devin van den Berg and Ronald Hagenstein
  • Founded in: 2023
  • Employees: 4
  • Money raised: -
  • Ultimate goal: Empowering everyone to deliver a beautiful presentation

Shaky legs, dry mouth: Not everyone finds it a pleasant experience to have to give a presentation. In fact, more than 70 percent of people experience some degree of speaking anxiety. At the same time, presenting and pitching are important skills in the professional work environment. The Rotterdam-based start-up Verble therefore developed an AI speechwriter that helps people present ideas powerfully. In this episode of Start-up of the Day, co-founders Victor Straatman, who has already founded several companies, and Devin van den Berg, three-time Dutch debating champion, tell us about how the company is doing.

  • Rotterdam-based start-up Verble has developed an AI speech writer to help people present ideas effectively.
  • Verble’s presentation tool acts as a digital coach.
  • The start-up aims to reach and empower millions of people through their tool.

How exactly does your presentation tool work?

Devin: “Think of it as a kind of digital coach. In our app, you first specify exactly what you’re going to do. Then you enter a chat environment, where the AI coach asks you specific questions about the presentation. If it has enough information, it then goes to work on an initial presentation text, plus bullet points as speaking notes.

You then enter the editing phase. The tool indicates which presentation techniques you can use, and whether you can add analogies, for example, to make the story more visual. In this phase you complete the presentation text.

Victor: “The presentation is tailor-made for each person and fits well with the language and knowledge level of the person giving the presentation. You can use our tool in all kinds of different contexts, from a speech at a wedding to a pitch for colleagues.”

© Verble

Do you see ChatGPT as competition?

Devin: “When the ChatGPT hype started, we thought: this can go two ways. Either we can throw our idea in the trash now, or we now have affordable technology on our hands to implement our idea even better. Fortunately, the latter turned out to be the case.

Admittedly, ChatGPT can do a lot. You can create children’s books, movie scripts and also presentation texts with it. But to do it really well, you have to give the program very precise instructions. And that is precisely what is so difficult. We turn it around in a sense. You want to prepare a presentation, you don’t know how to do it, but we take you by the hand. We guide you through the whole process so you can be sure it’s going to work out.”

What has been the biggest milestone for you so far?

Victor: “For me, going live on July 6 was a big milestone. We spent months testing all kinds of pieces of our software, but to have the whole product ready where you know: this is good enough to use, that’s still a very special moment.”

Devin: “I’m proud of the response we’ve received from the tech community. We are in the biggest AI newsletters and we also already received enthusiastic responses from Microsoft, for example. And I still find the fact that more than 6,000 people from over a hundred different countries are using our tool truly bizarre. The idea of the start-up came about not even that long ago, when Victor and I met on the plane on the way back from a big tech event in Portugal. And look where we are now.”

How does upcoming period look like?

Devin: “We want to further optimize our tool. One example: Users are still taken by the hand during the chat conversation, but when you get into the editing phase, you are let go a little more. We want to provide more guidance in this phase as well. We can do that with more suggestions, for example: you can add an analogy here, here you can add some more text, that sort of thing.

In the longer term we will go one step further, then users can also practice the presentation in front of a camera, with our tool giving feedback on the way you present. This will give you insight into how fast you talk and how many stop words you use, for example.

We are also looking into offering our chat feature in different languages. Right now the app is only offered in English and in Dutch. So in the future that will change.”

Victor: “Moreover, we are in talks with several investors. We are going to focus on the capital plan this summer, in order to continue to grow as effectively as possible.”

What does the ultimate dream look like? What will you have accomplished in 10 years?

Victor: “We hope to eventually assist tens of millions of people weekly with our tool. So that not only a select few can give a great presentation because they have the money to hire a presentation coach, but everyone. Empowering people, that’s what we’re going for.”