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a16z-backed Rewind pivots to build AI-powered pendant to record your conversations

In 2022, Rewind had just raised $10 million from a16z and was creating a personal data logging service that promised to record your activity privately and let you search your own history. But that was before OpenAI launched ChatGPT.

Today, generative AI can make what Rewind previously built – a searchable record of your activity – much more useful. So it’s not that surprising to see the startup pivot to integrate AI more deeply into its product. The company has rebranded as “Limitless” and now offers an AI-powered meetings suite and a hardware pendant that can record your conversations.

The company’s co-founder, Dan Siroker, was the first to publish the idea for a conversation recording last October and began accepting orders at $59. In January, he announced that the company had finalized a design and aims to ship the product in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Siroker released the final design this week, along with news of the company’s pivot. The $99 pendant was released on X earlier this week. The company is accepting pre-orders and aims to ship the first batch in August. Siroker said the company plans to honor initial pre-orders at $59. Earlier Wednesday, he posted that the startup has already received more than 10,000 pre-orders for the product.

Product Features and Pivot

The Limitless pendant can easily attach to your shirt like a wireless mic or attach it like a necklace with a string and record conversations. The main use case is recording and transcribing meetings, so you don’t need to take notes. The company claims the device is weatherproof, has a battery life of 100 hours, and can be charged easily via a USB-C port.

The hardware also has a “consent mode” that does not record the other person in the conversation unless they expressly agree to be recorded. It is unclear whether this mode would be enabled by default.

While the company is months away from shipping the hardware product, it has already released an app – available on the web, Mac and Windows – to record meetings. The app uses system audio and a microphone to record, so there is no need for a bot to join these meetings.

The app has features we’ve seen in meeting tools like Otter, Zoom, TimeOS, and TLDV. Siroker told TechCrunch that the company aims to differentiate itself with tools like real-time automated notes and automatically generated meeting summaries based on participants and previous meetings.

The app is free and includes unlimited audio storage and 10 hours per month of AI features like transcription, summarizing, and notes. Unlimited AI features cost $29 per month, or $19 per month if paid annually.

Image credits: Unlimited

Siroker said one of the key differentiators is the company’s new confidential cloud product that stores data in an encrypted format. While Rewind was largely a local product, the new cloud allows users to access data anywhere.

Siroker said the company asked Leviathan Security Group to perform a third-party audit on its solution to measure security.

“Confidential Cloud may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. It is private by design. Unlike the traditional cloud, your employer, we as a software provider, and the government cannot decrypt your data without your permission, even if subpoenaed. Only you have control over the decryption of your data,” he told TechCrunch.

The path to follow

On its website, Rewind says it has raised more than $33 million from backers including a16z, First Round Capital and NEA. The company said it did not use money from last year’s unusual Series A round, in which it called investors in post a video on – there are therefore no plans to raise new funds.

The company said it will continue to support Rewind in its current state, but will not actively add new features. That means the startup won’t deliver the Windows app it promised to build last year.

“We have no plans to close or merge Rewind with Limitless. We plan to reimplement many of our users’ favorite Rewind features directly into Limitless,” said Siroker.

“Users can even use both products side by side and decide which one they prefer. We hope that over time they will agree with us that the Limitless approach is better and will use it exclusively.

The company said the hardware product will answer questions through an AI-powered bot based on meeting recordings, personal account logins and web information. It will also offer a platform for developers to create applications or experiences around the product.

But the broader vision of Limitless is to create AI agents to do things on your behalf. This seems to be the trend of startups working with AI. Hardware startups like Humane and Rabbit are trying to create devices with AI tools that are promised to be powerful enough to take over certain tasks for you.

Browsers like The Browser Company’s Arc and YC-backed Sigma OS also create agents to browse the web for you. However, there are many unknowns, as AI bot results are still full of errors and it is sometimes difficult to get the AI ​​to understand the context and intentions of your query. AI-based agents working on your behalf certainly sound dreamy, but we may have to wait a while to get there.


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