In December 2021, San Francisco venture capital (VC) firm Maple VC secured $16.5 million USD for a fund aimed at backing more Canadian entrepreneurs, regardless of their location.
The firm has made its latest bet on New York-based Dexa, which offers an artificial intelligence-powered search engine for podcast listeners.
Dexa, which announced a $6-million seed financing round this week, is led by Calgary native Riley Tomasek as CEO and founder, according to a Dexa spokesperson. Prior to launching Dexa in 2023, Tomasek previously founded Vancouver-based resume builder Standard Resume, as well as digital organization tool Flight, which was later acquired by Figma.
Before founding his own companies, Tomasek was a software engineer at Dropbox, Prism, and Vancouver-based Indochino, according to his online resume.
In a statement on the funding, Tomasek described himself as an avid podcast listener, who found it difficult to search for specific segments from previous episodes. He specifically cited an instance when he wanted to double-check the daily magnesium intake recommended by neuroscientist and health podcaster Andrew Huberman.
Tomasek created a tool to search Huberman’s previous episodes, and within a day, Huberman reposted it on X, which garnered over half a million views.
“My experience speaks to a larger trend in how people consume content and search for things online,” Tomasek said in his statement. “While Google works well for searches based on facts or current events, it is not so great at searches for advice or guidance.”
Dexa’s search tool indexes, analyzes and transcribes podcast conversations, allowing users to know exactly who was speaking, what they said, and when in the episode they said it. The CEO claimed that more than 50,000 users visit the website monthly, with queries on topics ranging from programming languages to dietary advice.
Due to its original connection with Huberman, the startup began as “Huberman AI,” but later rebranded to Dexa. As part of its seed financing announcement, Tomasek announced a partnership with Huberman Lab, which offers listeners of Huberman’s podcast free access to Dexa.
“From the beginning, our mission has been to expand access to zero-cost information about science and science-related tools for mental health, physical health, and performance,” Huberman said in a statement. “Partnering with Dexa furthers that mission by giving people an easy way to find and consume all of the knowledge across our nearly 200 episodes in a new way, as well as to provide our content to new audiences.”
Joining Maple VC in Dexa’s seed round were co-leads Abstract Ventures and The General Partnership, with additional funds coming from Vercel founder Guillermo Rauch, as well as investors Terrence Rohan and Casey Caruso.
Tomasek said Dexa plans to use the funding to invest in product development and grow its engineering team. He added that the startup plans to expand its search tool beyond podcasts to video within the next year.
Feature image courtesy Dexa.
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