iDAvatars, a startup that develops software for users to interact with virtual assistants has begun the process of shutting down operations after losing a key customer, the founder and CEO Norrie Daroga said Monday.
The company was trying to create interactive mobile technology based on digital avatars with an ‘IQ’ to help connect people and share information. The technology recognized that people also take decisions based on EQ – an emotional intelligence – that allows them to respond to the human condition, interacting with users with empathy and humanity. As per the company, “They believe that the virtual character on the other end of your conversation should be someone you trust, and someone who listens to you. Sophie, the first intelligent agent created by iDAvatars, is all of that – and much more.”
According to a report in BizTimes
Founder Norrie Daroga, the only full-time employee still working at iDAvatars, is seeking to sell the company’s software and intellectual property, and has found a promising number of interested buyers nationwide. He plans to set up an auction in the near future.
“Our appetite for continued investment and keeping this going kind of came to an end,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in the technology and the concept that’s going to happen. It’s just pretty hard when you don’t have venture capital backing and you’re on your own.”
The most significant factor in the closure, Daroga said, was the loss of Blue Cross Blue Shield as a client, which was bringing in more than $1 million in revenue per year, after the chief executive officer and three executive team members retired.
Earlier in January, most of the employees at iDAvatars including the company’s Colorado office were laid off. The report added that iDAvatar’s had more than $1 million in revenue, and had grown at a 50 percent clip each of the past three years and quoted Daroga saying “It was just one of those things where we said, you know what, we had a good run. We’ll see if somebody else wants to do it,” he said. “It’s hard; this was my baby.”
Footnote: Despite shutdown of ventures like iDAvatars, the area of bots and intelligent digital assistants continues to be the top tech area for innovators and startups to focus on (link)