Voice UI Apps

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Voice UI Apps

We've provided six case studies including the three voice-UI apps focused on food, cooking, recipes: KloveChef, SideChef, and Voicipe; and the three voice-UI apps from other genres: Onyx Timer (fitness app), Scream Go Hero (gaming app), and Handsfree Music — Free Music Player (music app).

Apps Focused on Food/Cooking/Recipes with Voice as Primary UI Driver

1. KloveChef (now TinyChef)

  • KloveChef, now called TinyChef, was developed by Bahubali Shete, Asha Shete, and Sanjeev Kapoor. The name of the company is IOK Labs.
  • IOK Labs was founded in 2016, but the app was released on Apple's App Store in 2017. It hasn't been officially released on Google's Play Store yet.
  • IOK Labs and KloveChef are headquartered in New York City, although they also have a location in Ontario, Canada.
  • The app is an open interactive platform and a cooking experience that uses Culinary AI. It works as a marketplace for home cooks and recipe creators.
  • The app is designed to interact with home cooks, recipe creators, and brands via voice-based recipes, combining AI solutions to help the user buy groceries, plan meals, and voice-guided cooking.
  • The app connects with smart kitchen sensors to monitor the cooking process and can also sync with smart home devices to order groceries, and monitor the time and temperature while cooking.
  • KloveChef allows CPG brands, media brands, grocery retailers, and Meal-kits to promote their products during grocery shopping and cooking and engage with the users.
  • The app uses a commission-based model for voice shopping and standard CPC voice marketing and affiliate models to acquire users.
  • According to its co-founder and CEO, Bahubali Shété, the app has 100,000 monthly active users and 465,000 registered users.
  • The company has had six rounds of venture capital investments, including an angel round, two pre-seed rounds, two convertible notes, and a seed round that took place in November 2020. The total funding capital is $2.3 million.
  • KloveChef's current revenue is $4 million.
  • In the past year, KloveChef has been covered in articles from different technology and cooking magazines and specialty sites including 1) "Bahubali Shete CEO of TinyChef on His Journey to 1M Voice App Users and New Voice Commerce Features on Alexa — Voicebot Podcast Ep 201" by Voicebot AI, 2) "KloveChef Opens Up Voice-Guided Cooking Platform to Publishers" by The Spoon, and 3) "KloveChef aims to make recipe books obsolete: Startup Stories" by Kr-Asia.

2. SideChef

  • The SideChef App was developed by Kevin Yu and registered under the SideChef company, located in San Francisco, California.
  • The company was officially founded in 2013, the app was launched on the Apple App Store and Google's Play Store in 2014.
  • A detailed case study of the app's interface and development was created by The Frank Designs.
  • SideChef is a free app available on Android, iOS, Google Home Hub, Alexa, Portal, and Samsung Bixby.
  • SideChef combines the kitchen with technology to help users and home cooks of any level feel confident while cooking, through interactive smart recipes that use voice-guided videos, hands-free commands for dynamic recipe guidance, built-in times, how-to videos, and step-by-step photos.
  • The mobile app has over 18,000 interactive Smart Recipes, seven Smart Kitchen Technology partners, and more than 300 food-blogging partners. It connects the user and its kitchen with the recipes, empowering them to follow any cooking process, save money, and eat healthier.
  • Its features include grocery ordering, grocery list generation, dietary specifications, smart kitchen automation and connection, scheduling, diet filtering, recipe recommendations, etc.
  • Although the company hasn't provided an exact number of active users per month, they've indicated that over 900,000 users have downloaded the app, and more than 500,000 only on the Google Play Store.
  • Over 2.5 million meals have been cooked using the SideChef app.
  • SideChef has had two venture capital rounds, a seed round and a venture round which took place in October 2019. The total funding capital is $1 million.
  • SideChef's current revenue is $9.6 million.
  • In the past year, SideChef has been covered in articles from different technology and cooking magazines and specialty sites including 1) "Free recipe apps for whatever (and however) you want to cook" by Mashable, 2) "SideChef Launches Paid App With SideChef Premium" by The Spoon, and 3) "SideChef Brings Thousands of Recipes to Portal from Facebook" by PR Newswire.

3. Voicipe

  • Voicipe is a hands-free, recipe reading app that allows home cooks to focus on their cooking by reading the recipes to them and avoiding the need to touch their smartphone or tablet to follow the instructions.
  • Users can control the pace through voice commands like "Voicipe, can you repeat that?" or "Voicipe, what's next?"
  • Voicipe is compatible with thousands of recipe websites. The app's browser allows users to explore and load the recipes to get the narrator started.
  • The company has not made any VC investment public but they won 2nd place at the San Francisco Startup Weekend of November 2016.
  • Voicipe was officially launched for Android in 2019. The waiting list is open for notifications when the app is launched for iOS users.
  • There is no information about its monthly active users, but the app has been downloaded from Google's Play Store over 500 times and has more than 500 users.
  • Voicipe's current revenue is $4 million.
  • In the past year, Voicipe released the article 1) "This Thanksgiving, Follow Your Recipes Hands-Free" on its press release page and its founder, Mike McCoy, the article 2) "Voice2020 Speaking Topic: The challenges and journey of a Voice startup." 3) Voice Summit AI released the article "Voicipe: The Hands-Free Cooking Assistant for Mobile" in 2019.


Apps from Different Genres with Voice as Primary UI Driver

1. Onyx Timer — Fitness & Health App

  • Onyx Timer was developed by Kirill Edelman, an independent app developer located in Thiensville, Wisconsin.
  • The voice-operated app is a fitness timer that allows its user to control the repetition-based exercises and its timer through customizable voice commands.
  • Onyx Timer is a free app that announces the exercises to the user, displays the exercises in progress on the screen, allows the user to add, mix, and categorize the workout routines, and runs in the background to stop the lock screen.
  • The app was launched in the iOS App Store on Jun 5th, 2014. It is not available on Google's Play Store yet.
  • As a private developer, Edelman has not released the monthly active users' statistics, VC investments, or revenue, but based on the App Store profile, it has been reviewed by 23 users.
  • According to Sensor Tower, it has not generated any revenue as of February 2021.
  • There are no articles written about this app in the past year. However, in 2019, Edelman published an article titled "Onyx Timer — Hands-Free, Voice Controlled, Talking Exercise Timer" on App Advice. An installation tutorial article was published in 2019 on BaixarApk Gratis.

2. Scream Go Hero — Gaming App

  • Scream Go Hero is a gaming app developed by Ketchapp, a French app developer whose parent company is Ubisoft US, a game developer with headquarters in France and San Francisco.
  • The free app was released on Google's Play Store and iOS in March 2017.
  • The game allows the user to use its voice to control the character as it runs and jumps.
  • Scream Go Hero recognizes eight tones/levels in the voice and the user can control how high the character jumps or how slow it runs by elevating its voice.
  • Other similar gaming apps that are voice-operated include the Android game Yasuhati developed by Freem Inc. and owned by the San Francisco company MobyGames, and the iOS game RoboRun developed by the Ontario company Applauz Media Solutions.
  • While the company has not released details of its monthly active users, Scream Go Hero has been downloaded over 70,000 times and has a revenue of under $5,000 as of February 2021.
  • The company Ketchapp and game have no records of VC investment rounds, except for the company's acquisition by Ubisoft in 2016.
  • There are no new articles about Scream Go Hero in the past year; however, multiple articles were released in 2019 when the app went viral on social media, including 1) "How an iOS Feature Brought Scream Go Hero Back From the Dead" by NY Magazine, 2) "People are just discovering 'Scream Go Hero' and their videos are marvelous" by Mashable, and "Scream Go Hero: Eighth Note Yasuhati Guide — Tips, Cheats, and Strategies" by GameZebo.

3. Handsfree Music — Free Music Player — Music & Audio App

  • Handsfree Music — Free Music Player allows users to search, play, and control music through voice commands. The user can create its own playlists, search through YouTube music videos, through name, artist, or phrases from the songs with advanced phrase detection, additional text search option, and voice control in 17 languages.
  • This free app is only available in Google's Play Store and while it doesn't have a release date made public, its oldest review date is from August 2019.
  • While the company hasn't released details of VC investments, or monthly active users, but the app has been downloaded over 10,000.
  • According to Sensor Tower, since the app is free, it has generated a revenue of less than $5,000.
  • There are no articles written about this app.

Research Strategy

We began our research by looking for case studies and lists of voice-UI apps in the US focused on cooking and other genres, by looking through technology, apps, and voice AI magazines and sources, but soon realized all the results listed were for voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, or for existing apps with an added feature to use voice control, like YouTube Music. However, none of the results provided apps that used voice/conversation as the primary user interface.

As requested, among the cooking apps case studies, we researched the details for KloveChef and SideChef and found Voicipe while looking for their competitors, which we included in our list. All other competitor voice-UI cooking apps were not from the requested geography focus, didn't have voice/conversation as their primary user interface, or were no longer available, like Yes! Chef, In The Kitchen, or Hey Sous Chef. The same happened when looking for voice-UI apps in other genres.

We noticed in our research that although many tech magazines talked of how voice-control is the future, in most examples it was an added feature and not its primary user interface. We finally found Onyx Timer, an example of a fitness app. But for the next, we had to expand our research to apps used and available for the US market, but not necessarily built in the country, like Scream Go Hero, which was built in France but owned by a company with a location in the US, and Handsfree Music — Free Music Player, which was built in London but has US users.

We also noticed that since most of these apps are free, created by independent developers, and don't have more than 15,000 downloads, they don't have revenue information, monthly active users, have been opened to rounds of VC financing, or have articles published about them in the past year. In which case we indicated that on the case study and provided the closest information to understand the app's reach, the total number of downloads, and, when available, we included articles from the past two years. We tried to provide as much information available as possible to meet the final goal of understanding other areas where voice is being used, the competition in terms of adoption, its success, funding possibilities, etc.
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