Apple has acquired a San Francisco-based startup, PullString which designs and publishes voice apps. Founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, PullString initially used its technology for interactive voice apps for toys before expanding to doing the same for Amazon Echo and Google Assistant platform.
The startup was initially known as ToyTalk and has Mattel, AKQA, and HomeAdvisor as its clients. It had raised $44 million in venture capital and was valued at $160 million. While Apple declined to comment, the startup’s acquisition is said to have been done at around $30 million with another $10 million given out to the top-level management.
The startup highlights on its website that it helps organizations in designing, prototyping, and publishing their voice apps in minutes using its tools. It helps them to focus on improving their voice tech idea and forget about the complexities of AI and machine learning.
At PullString, we strive to help people talk effortlessly with voice technology that surrounds us. Working at the intersection of creative expression and artificial intelligence, we provide agencies and enterprises with the leading solution to collaboratively design, prototype, and publish highly engaging voice applications for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IoT devices.
Apple could use the expertise from PullString to make it easier to write and design voice-based apps for Siri on the HomePod and iOS. Unlike Echo and Google Assistant, Siri is severely lacking in this department and has a lot of catching up to do.