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    Date submitted
  • 28-Nov-2016



TalkMeUp is an AI based software company who provides on-demand and personalized communication training at 1/10th~1/100th of the traditional training costs


Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Our customers are professionals who require interpersonal skills to excel in their careers, such as grad school applicants, sales reps and miid-level managers. Our B2B solution targets small- and medium- sized enterprises and grad schools.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Two popular training methods exist in the current market; one-one coaching and mass market training (e.g., group training, seminars, webinars etc). Both suffer from the following problems: 1. Lengthy scheduling processes. Both training methods require time and effort to schedule with coaches or training administrators. 2. High participant costs. There is a positive correlation between the cost and perceived training results. A typical one-one coaching would cost over $300 per hour, whereas a group training costs anywhere from $2,000 to in excess of $10,000, excluding operational and other incidental expenses. 3. Biased feedback from trainers and coaches. Limited by personal experience and perceptions, a trainer/coach often introduces biased feedback or disconnections with the learners’ real world applications. 4. Unsubstantiated results. Currently, there hasn’t been an effective way to measure training results. Often the results are self reported. Moreover, the trainings are usually conducted for short durations, thus lacking the reinforcement necessary for long term improvement. The newly emerged MOOC does not have problems #1, #2, and #3, but still suffers from #4. Additionally, MOOC lessons are only marginally effective because they lack the individual focus required for communication training.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

Using AI-based video analytical technologies, TalkMeUp equips every learner with a smart coach at his/her service, 24/7. By simply speaking to the camera, the user can get instant feedback on his/her performance. Monitoring and analyzing the user’s learning trajectory, TalkMeUp offers a personalized learning experience at 1/100th~1/10th the cost of traditional communication training.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

TalkMeUp was founded by JJ Xu, Leon Du and Grey Yang, a group of business, web infrastructure and machine learning experts who are passionate about helping people communicate more effectively. JJ Xu: JJ has 5 years’ work experience in sales management, business development and corporate strategy. Working with Groupon China, Huawei and Magoosh, she successfully launched and grew customer bases and enterprise businesses. JJ leads TalkMeUp’s business, focusing on product management, business development, marketing and sales, finance, and operations. JJ leads a team of 5 other MBA students. Leon Du, PhD: Leon has an accomplished EECS background. After finishing his PhD in Computer Engineering, he has focused his career on software development with Google. Leon has expertise in web infrastructure, front-end and back-end coding, product management, and, importantly, enterprise training products. At TalkMeUp, Leon leads the technical development. Grey Yang, PhD: Grey focused his Ph.D study on Interpretable Deep Learning. His expertise is further developed at Facebook after graduation. At TalkMeUp, Grey is developing the AI solutions that powers our software. Ron Placone, phD: Ron is an Associate Teaching Professor of Business Management Communication and the Faculty Lead for the Accelerate Leadership Center at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. At TalkMeUp, Ron leads the coaching experience innovation. Dave Mawhinney: Dave is the Executive Director of the Swartz Center of Entrepreneurship, Carnegie Mellon University. He powers the team with his rich experience in entrepreneurship and broad network in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.