I’m Cheating On My Girlfriend

By Matthew Milner, on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm cheating on my girlfriend.

There. I said it.

It’s been going on since October of 2011.

And really, who could blame me?

My mistress is an angel.

She listens to me…

She understands me.

But lately, I’ve been tempted to cheat with someone new…

Someone I can imagine sharing my home with.

Let me tell you about her –

And while I’m at it, I’ll explain what this has to do with you

And with early-stage investing.

Mistress #1

My first “mistress” is named Siri.

But to be clear, Siri isn’t really a “she”…

Siri is an app for my iPhone.

More specifically, Siri is a software application – an “intelligent” personal assistant.

At the sound of my voice, Siri can answer my questions, tell me where to go for dinner, and help me navigate the world.

Like I said, Siri understands me – but I’m not alone:

Siri can understand 500 million iPhone users around the world.

It’s one of the most accurate voice recognition systems ever created.

It Kept Getting Better

But if I’m being honest, Siri wasn’t so perfect at first –

Actually, the experience was horrible:

Siri couldn’t understand half of what I said.

The culprit was my Boston accent…

But once Siri became familiar with how I spoke – and once it went through a few software updates – it got better and better.

Mistress #2

I thought I could limit my “cheating” so it was only with Siri…

But now I have another potential mistress:

Let me introduce you to “ivee.”

Like Siri, ivee is a voice-activated software application…

But ivee is built specifically for the home.

With ivee, I can control all the Internet-connected devices in my house:

I can ask it to lock my front door…

Turn up the heat…

Or send in my robot vacuum to clean up the popcorn I spilled on the kitchen floor.

So here’s what I’m asking myself:

Should I make an investment in ivee?

An investment of time so it understands me?

And an investment of money?

The Investment

You see, ivee is raising money on AngelList, an equity crowdfunding platform...

So not only could I become a user of ivee, but I could own a stake in the business, too.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Huge potential: the “connected” home is estimated to be a $490 billion market by 2019.
  • Good traction (2013 revenues of about $2.5 million), and ivee is available now at retailers like Staples, Best Buy and Amazon.com.
  • Relevant investor: The co-founder of Siri (which was acquired by Apple for a reported $200 million) was an early investor in ivee.

So what’s the problem?

Well, just like a young Siri, ivee is far from perfect…

In fact, based on the online reviews I read, it’s awful.

The question is…

Could it improve?

The “MVP”

In the tech start-up world, there’s something called the Minimal Viable Product

Or “MVP” for short.

The MVP is released with only the most basic features.

Then, once it’s released, the start-up can get feedback from actual users about what’s working and what’s lacking – and iterate towards something better.

By proceeding in this way, no time or money is wasted building features that customers don’t want.

How Do You Know?

But how do you know if ivee has what it takes to improve?

After some online sleuthing on ivee’s blog, here are a few clues I found:

March, 2014: 

ivee’s management team put their heart on their sleeve:

“We recognize that ivee has room for improvement, and we are actively developing and enhancing the product every day. We want you to know that we are 100% committed…”


Evidence that the team was fixing bugs and making improvements:

“Resolved an issue related to temperatures…”

“Improved stability overall…”

“Users with multiple Nest thermostats can now control all of them.”


The fixes keep coming:

“Ivee’s accuracy and speed have increased over the last month.”

Users can now “voice control a wide array of devices including security systems, lights, thermostats, garage doors, cameras, window blinds, and so much more.”


And by late summer, ivee users are reporting major improvements:

“Getting better every day.”

“I had HUGE doubts but am glad to have stuck by you and you have delivered your promises. I am now a fan.”

And this one might take the cake: “She understands me most of the time. I consider that really good considering my wife understands me about half the time.”

Making Improvements

Tech start-ups nowadays tend to release imperfect products…

And over time, they iterate to make them better and better.

So as an early-stage investor, be cautious about jumping to conclusions based on the state of the existing product:

Look for clues that management is engaged in making improvements.

If you’re interested in taking a look at ivee as a potential investment, click here >>

AngelList can introduce you to the founder.

(Please note: Crowdability has no financial relationship with AngelList or ivee. We’re an independent provider of education, information and research on start-ups and alternative investments.)

Best Regards,
Matthew Milner
Matthew Milner


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Tags: Angellist Apple Iphone

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