Today (Wednesday), Israeli startup CommonGround partially emerges from stealth mode, announcing a $19 million funding round. The investment was led by Grove Ventures, StageOne Ventures, and Matrix Partners - an early round investor in giants like Apple, Xiaomi, and Oculus.

The future of video conference?

CommonGround is developing a video chat platform, aiming to provide a solution to what current market giants have yet to solved. In a conversation with Geektime, CEO Amir Bassan-Eskenazi shares that the platform allows for realistic interpersonal communication - though through a screen - and its goal is to create a different video conference experience, unlike any other virtual solution, just like the good old days.

Yeah, we know, that description doesn’t shed much light on the product, but the company is remaining in stealth mode at least product wise for now. “CommonGround’s product turns virtual communication into a more authentic, interesting, and non exhausting experience - similar to chatting with someone in the real world, but with all th advantages that the virtual world provides,” says Bassan-Eskenazi.

He also notes, that he and his co-founder Ran Oz identified the opportunity 15 years ago and tried to solve the technological issues, but to no success - until now: “What changed the situation and led us to found CommonGround in 2019 were significant technological developments in computer vision, 3D and its interaction with advanced deep learning and AI capabilities.”

Bassan-Eskenazi says that his company’s technology “will compliment existing solutions by creating a totally different experience that we all need - for wrok, school, social interaction, tele-medicine, gaming, and more.”

Bassan-Eskenazi reveals that the idea behind the product stems from his and Oz’s challenges from the last startup that the two founded. BigBand Technologies, which the duo took public in 2007, utilized the most advanced video conference technologies (at the time) and still had to fly employees round the world in order to maintain effective communication.

He further adds that even though the company was founded in 2019, prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was obvious to the two that the world is trending towards remote work. “The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic served as the perfect lesson of the difference between real world and virtual interaction. The vaccine will allow us to physically meet again and get back to normal, but some things will never be the same. A single flight for a business meeting in NYC will become a thing of the past. The understanding that we need to significantly change and adapt existing solutions is something realized by all, which puts us in a perfect situation,” said Bassan-Eskenazi.