Owl Labs Grabs $6M Led by Matrix, Teases Video Conferencing Device

Owl Labs, a Boston-based video conferencing startup that employs veterans of iRobot and HubSpot, announced today it has snagged a $6 million Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners.

Founded in 2014, Owl Labs said it got seed funding from Playground Global Ventures and was the first company to work out of Playground’s Design Studio in the Bay Area. Playground, which is led by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, has also funded Boston-area startup RightHand Robotics.

In a press release announcing the new funding, Owl Labs said it is developing an Internet-connected, USB-enabled device with audio and video capabilities. The device is aimed at improving the video conferencing experience for remote employees. The company said it will share more product details this summer and will begin selling it later this year. An earlier version of Owl Labs’ website said it was developing a smart video camera with 360-degree vision that could automatically focus on the person speaking, according to a BostInno article from last August.

Owl Labs was founded by chief executive Max Makeev, former product manager in iRobot’s home business unit, and chief technology officer Mark Schnittman, previously a lead roboticist at iRobot, according to LinkedIn. The startup’s early employees include Karen Rubin, formerly of Quantopian, Quanttus, Matrix Partners, and HubSpot; and Rebecca Corliss, former HubSpot director of marketing.

Owl Labs said it has just under 20 employees (and, fittingly, some of them work remotely). The company has raised $7.3 million total from investors, Corliss told Xconomy.

The startup has a long way to go, of course. But as the global workforce becomes more distributed, Owl Labs might have a chance to build a big business if its product meaningfully improves the way remote employees connect with their colleagues.

[The above photo of the Owl Labs leadership team includes, from left to right: Amy DeDeo, Karen Rubin, Max Makeev, Rebecca Corliss, Mark Schnittman, and Dan Marchetto (on the computer screen). Photo courtesy of Owl Labs.]

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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