iRobot and HubSpot Alumni Launch Owl Labs With a $6M Series A

Updated at 9:42 a.m. on May 9, 2017: We got the opportunity to ask Max Makeev, CEO and co-founder of Owl Labs, why the company has been in stealth mode for so long and why they decided to come out of stealth mode now. "We’ve taken the time to build out an impressive team, which includes talent from iRobot, HubSpot, Sonos, Polycomand others. Additionally, we have been fine-tuning the product with user feedback. In fact, more than 30 companies have been participating in our very limited beta, and we’re now in the final stages of preparing for the launch of the product this summer," Makeev wrote in an email to BostInno.

As for Owl, the first product of Owl Labs, Makeev said that it will be one of the first IoT devices for the conference room, and it will help remote participants feel like they’re sitting in the room with their distant team. "It was time to share our mission and our desire to become an advocate for remote employees, figuratively giving them a seat at the table," Makeev concluded.

An earlier story follows:

We already knew a thing or two about Owl Labs.

We knew that it was founded in 2014 by two iRobot veterans, Max Makeev and Mark Schnittman. We also knew that the company had already raised $5 million of a planned $6 million round in August 2016.

We knew that one of the early investors was Andy Rubin, Android co-founder. Overall, we knew several things for a company that was in "stealth mode," meaning operating without revealing its plans to the public.

Now all the things we knew about Owl Labs become official. The company, which comes out of stealth today, announced a $6M Series A financing led by Matrix Partners.

“After seeing Owl Labs’ prototype for the first time, it was clear that this could be the missing piece that helps remote participants feel as though they were in the room," Antonio Rodriguez, General Partner at Matrix and early investor in Oculus VR, said in a statement.

Owl Labs was seeded by Playground Ventures and was the first company to join Playground's West Coast Design Studio, both founded by Android co-creator Rubin. The team will include Karen Rubin and Rebecca Corliss, both among HubSpot’s original 50 employees. Owl Labs will also include six former iRobot employees, joining the team of just under 20.

The company's first product will be Owl, an IoT video conferencing hardware tool that aims to improve the meeting experience for remote employees. Specifically, Owl will be a USB audio and video device. Owl Labs said it will share details about Owl this summer, and that the product will be available for purchase later this year.

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