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Remember PrankGPT? The owners just raised $3.25M for their Y Combinator-backed startup

Vocode founders
Picture credits: Y Combinator

To build a realistic voice interface, one has to orchestrate speech recognition, AI or natural language understanding, and speech synthesis in real-time and manage the asynchronous and imperfect nature of human conversation. As voice is the most natural communication medium and is applicable in almost every industry, many products and services would have voice interfaces or voice automation but it is complex. This is where San Francisco-based Vocode enters the industry. 

The conversational AI startup founded by UC Berkeley alums and high school friends – Ajay Raj and Kian Hooshmand in 2023 enables developers to build and deploy conversational AI apps faster via its API. It orchestrates everything in real-time and provides tools for common workflows.

Raises seed funding

Recently, Vocode raised $3.25 million in seed funding from Y Combinator that recently invested in Wondercraft and atla), Base10, GV, Gradient, Accel, and Liquid2, and angels, including AngelList CEO Avlok Kohli, Replit founder Amjad Masad, and Siqi Chen.

Vocode will use the fresh funding to hire members to expand its team to 10 members and continue its integration with tech companies in the US.


Initially, Vocode was known for its AI-powered prank call service – PrankGPT. After facing an unanticipated challenge and a run-in with the police with prank calls to 911, they shifted their business towards ethical AI. They focused on putting things online with guardrails. 

Transition to conversation AI

Vocode’s transition to become a conversational AI is filled with technical challenges. The task of replicating human-voice interactions is not simple and needs a clear understanding of tone, context, and even interpreting body language cues to know when a conversation has ended. The latency issues add up to these challenges. However, Vocode managed to become popular among online hacker communities. 

Now, companies use Vocode to automate inbound and outbound phone calls using AI. The company replaces and augments their call centre operations at a fraction of the cost with 24/7 availability.

As we live in the world of AI, Vocode is a reminder that innovation and entertainment should follow ethical guardrails and potential implications should be thought of.

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