Virtual assistant platforms, such as Alexa, have been around for a few years now.
But this month, they’ve been gaining momentum in a way that hasn’t been seen in the past.
A new startup called Parse is betting big on creating a market for the platforms that help you learn and communicate with virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
Parse is a small startup, but the $500 million valuation is huge.
The company’s founders are Jason Mraz and Jeff Smith, two people with backgrounds in computer science and software engineering.
They’ve been working on the idea for about a year, with Parse focusing on a “market for voice assistants and web interfaces” and developing a marketplace for those platforms.
Parse’s goal is to create a new type of marketplace that’s designed to be more efficient than the current one.
“The goal is not to have a giant marketplace for voice assistant and web interface,” Mraz said.
“It’s not really to have something like Amazon or Apple or even Google.”
Instead, Parse wants to create an open platform for voice and interaction with virtual assistant products.
The platform would work by being able to “connect with and provide content to third-party vendors, but we’re also building this platform for consumers to use.”
For instance, you could say, “Hey, Siri, I want to listen to a speech recognition speaker,” and Parse would automatically create a speaker that you can use to listen.
Mraz and Smith aren’t the only developers building a marketplace.
The founders of Yotpo, a San Francisco-based company that helps users make more money from their apps, recently joined Parse.
And there are some notable investors in the space, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Moz, who also co-founded Parse, thinks that Parse will be able to make more than it would be able with other virtual assistant platforms.
“You’re going to see this really transform the virtual assistants market, and you’re going be able do more with it,” he said.
But the market isn’t perfect.
Mraz noted that virtual assistants need a lot of support to be viable, and there are other ways to earn money with them.
For instance: “If you’re using Siri, the price you’re paying for Siri is based on how good you are at it.
If you’re a very good user, Siri is going to be way more valuable than if you’re not.”
Mraz also said that there are limitations with Parsec’s business model.
“I’m not a huge fan of Parsec because the price of virtual assistants isn’t going to change as much as other services like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa,” he added.
“And I think Parsec is probably going to lose money because of that.
And if you think of Amazon, Siri and Alexa, they’re probably going be the cheapest and the best.”
But if the market is successful, Mraz believes that Parsec will be a major player in the marketplace.
“Parsec’s a really cool idea,” he concluded.
“There are a lot more companies out there looking to build this market.
Parsec just has the right combination of people, technology, and experience to do it.”
Read more: Parse founder: We want to make a better virtual assistant marketplace than Amazon and Google’s Parse platform