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Hate Voicemail? Christchurch Company Vxt Has Come Up With A Solution

Christchurch startup Vxt is revolutionising voicemail, offering a system that makes it easier for small business owners and others to stay on top of messages.

Checking your voicemail can be frustrating and time consuming — so much so that many people ignore messages altogether.

Luke Campbell, 24, knows that all too well.

Back in 2018, the University of Canterbury (UC) student was taking a course run by the UC Centre of Entrepreneurship (UCE). While he was thinking about businesses as solutions to problems, he was also getting a lot of voicemail messages, and hating it.

“It seemed like a really kind of broken, painful process,” Campbell says.

So, he decided to do something about it. After a couple of long talks with his partner, computer scientist Lucy Turner, the pair decided to form a company, Vxt, with a focus on helping small business owners better manage their voicemail.

Users check their voicemail in the Vxt app in whatever order they like, they can record unique greetings for different people or for use at different times and — crucially — the app includes a message transcription feature, meaning users can read their voicemail messages (if they want, they can even choose to have the messages sent to their email or platforms like Slack). Since the Vxt team first rolled out their app last August, the service has received more than 1 million calls and the app is now available outside New Zealand in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Vxt Luke Campbell

The sheer fact that a bunch of students whipped up a product and now their customers have received over 1 million calls to that system is pretty crazy to think about.”

Luke Campbell - Vxt

“The sheer fact that a bunch of students whipped up a product and now their customers have received over 1 million calls to that system is pretty crazy to think about,” Campbell says.

And Vxt has no plans of slowing down. The app has been downloaded about 20,000 times, and the company recently raised $600,000 in seed funding. Its focus now is expanding its services, making refinements, and continuing to grow.

Turner, chief technology officer at Vxt, is working on a machine learning process to improve the audio quality of messages. That will help boost transcription accuracy, which is currently sitting at about 75 per cent.
And the company has plans to allow users to make and receive calls through Vxt.

“We’re really looking, for lack of a better word, to become somewhat of a telco company,” Campbell says. “So, we’re rolling out phone systems probably by the end of this year or January at the latest.”

While Vxt has come a long way in a short time, it has not been without help.

In 2018, both Turner and Campbell received scholarships from UCE to allow them to work on their idea over that summer.

And the company, which has grown rapidly to a team of about 15, gets free office space and business support from ThincLab Canterbury, a startup incubator based in UCE’s Rehua Building on the university campus.
“It obviously saves a lot of costs from our end, and they’re absolutely beautiful offices so we’re certainly pretty lucky there,” Campbell says.

“Just having that community there around you of other people that are working on businesses or are otherwise supporting entrepreneurs — it’s invaluable, I would say.”

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