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Present.io launches, aims to provide meeting rewind for ‘TiVo generation’

Presentio records the audio and slides from meetings and automatically uploads that content to the cloud for later access. Screenshot from present.io.

With Holiday TechBrew on Tuesday evening and the Dwolla Meetup on Thursday night, it’s safe to assume some in the Des Moines startup community slogged through early morning meetings this week with something short of their ‘A’ game.

With the launch of Present.io today, Christian Renaud believes he can help solve a problem for those people — and, more broadly, for anyone looking to get the most out of meetings, lectures and presentations. 

Present.io, which is marking its launch with an event today at StartupCity, records audio and slides at meetings and uploads that content to the cloud for later consumption. So, for those who can’t make a meeting, those who mentally check out of a meeting early or those who just want to brush up on the important points after the meeting, Present.io is there to help. 

“So much … happens in live, face-to-face interactions across the conference table, and all that, when everybody leaves, is lost,” said Renaud (left, photo from linkedin.com), Present.io’s founder. “Everybody’s got a different recollection, and if you’re lucky you’ve got meeting minutes that are at least somewhat accurate. But most of the time that’s lost.”

Not with Present.io, Renaud says. In addition to recording meetings and shipping them to the cloud, Present.io automatically extracts the relevant topics and tags from meetings. That means users can search for the specific information they want, replaying selected segments of meetings on their own time. That, Renaud says, is where Present.io‘s real value lies.

“Recording a meeting isn’t enough,” he said, “unless you can do something meaningful with it, unless it can integrate with your enterprise knowledge management system or you can search for meaningful content.”

Present.io captures meetings with a small device — about the size of a box of tissue, Renaud says — that sits under a conference table and costs $699 per room in which it’s installed. Cloud storage is free for one year, and after that it costs a little more than a dollar per day. All of it is done securely, controlled by an account administrator who has the ability to grant specific users access to specific meetings. 

Renaud used to work at Cisco, where he was initially exposed to the knowledge-capture technology that served as the inspiration for Present.io. Years passed before Renaud began working on StartupCity, the incubator he runs with Tej Dhawan in downtown Des Moines, and Renaud decided he had another use for the technology.

“I knew we were going to be running a bunch of people doing Lunch and Learns and tutorials and other educational curriculum through StartupCity,” he said, “and we wanted to be able to record that stuff and have people be able to leverage it across the state.”

“Recording a meeting isn’t enough, unless you can do something meaningful with it.” – Christian Renaud

Renaud and two “white hot” developers set to work with development of Present.io in June. He eventually selected six beta testers across verticals that included K-12 education, higher education and non-profit. 

“My eggs are not all in one basket,” Renaud said of the diversified approach. “I’ve got a marketing approach, but I’m deliberately being a little experimental with the beta units to see who benefits the most from having that sort of technology.”

Given his own experiences, Renaud is confident Present.io will gain traction. After leaving Cisco and attending meetings without the knowledge-capture technology he had come to take for granted there, Renaud said he felt at times like he “was missing a limb.” Now, he’s banking on what he calls the “TiVo generation” finding Present.io just as indispensable. 

“Having the ability to go back, just like you go back in your emails and go, ‘What did that person say?’ — having the avility to do that with meetings as well, it’s remarkably helpful,” he said.

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