Preciate Inc., a virtual socialization and meeting platform, today announced it raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Woodland Capital to scale its 2D virtual meeting product that helps remote workers combat “Zoom fatigue.”
Alongside the announcement, the company also changed its name to Scoot in order to reflect the company’s mission to provide energetic and invigorating virtual environments for people to meet online.
“Scoot is a fun name, and it reflects the energy our product brings into meetings,” said founder and Chief Executive Ed Stevens. “We think it will help more companies recognize that their virtual meetings can be more engaging, addressing employee detachment in the modern hybrid workplace.”
Scoot, then Preciate, launched its platform in September 2020 to provide users with an accessible way to meet remotely and replicate the atmosphere of real-life meetings while escaping from the grid view of Zoom-style meetings. It creates a unique sort of view by putting webcam views of people into bubbles on screen in a 2D view and lets them “roam” around a virtual environment where they can mingle as if they’re in a virtual space and chat with one another in groups.
As a result, it gives them a little bit more control over the way that they gather on screen, giving them the sound of being in a group, the view of other people’s faces and the ability to move between groups and the accessibility of the web.
Scoot’s platform launched during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when remote work became extremely prevalent and the use of social media, email, chatrooms and other digital communication pushed teams apart. At the same time, video meetings pulled teams to their screens and workers began to suffer from what some researchers call “Zoom fatigue,” a type of burnout associated with the overuse of chat platforms, usually associated with video chats that put faces in grids.
Scoot believes that by pulling faces out of grids and putting people into a more casual, permissive environment where the users could control themselves and feel more like they can move around – even if it’s only a 2D space – its virtual meeting platform can help combat this issue.
“This Series A financing, closed in the midst of a significant tech bear market, proves there is a massive need for Scoot,” Stevens said. “We’re going to continue expanding our platform and making it better, all while global enterprise demand for our product expands.”
Scoot’s platform has other uses for businesses, from providing a space for workshops to breakout meetings to making it easy to do conferences or closed group meetings. The company has also made it easy to customize the space for entertainment purposes with special backgrounds and personalized music. Businesses can even hire live performers to play at virtual events.
Scoot’s technology is already in use by a number of clients including Adobe, PepsiCo, Affirm and Moen, according to the company’s website.
Blurring the lines between video chat and virtual rooms, or offices, became a go-to activity during the pandemic and Scoot competes with a few other virtual meeting platforms. Similar businesses that offer 2D virtual meetings for people to video and voice chat include KumoSpace, which provides virtual offices, and Teamflow, which also provides 2D virtual offices and proximity audio.