Voice Activated

New Startup OneTok Wants to Bring Voice Recognition to the Masses

But will it be able to call us 'Rock God?'
3920830092 eea4da5dc2 New Startup OneTok Wants to Bring Voice Recognition to the Masses

Mr. Lilienthal (flickr.com/philwolff)

If you’re fed up with iPhone’s Siri, might we suggest another option besides getting litigiousOneTok, the newest venture from serial entrepreneur Ben Lilienthal, wants to voice enable the rest of the mobile web.

“If you think about Siri,” Mr. Lilienthal told us via phone, “that’s cool on an iPhone, but it only works for a small number of apps. Our vision is that people are going to control their smartphones by talking to them. We’re gonna be the platform that makes it easy for developers to embed voice technology into their apps.”

If it sounds like a lofty idea, that’s because it is–but OneTok is well-positioned to make good on their vision. The company just raised $1.5 million in Series A funding from “friends and family,” as well as one prominent New York venture capital firm. And Mr. Lilienthal has a swath of successful startups under his belt, including Vapps Inc., which he sold to Citrix in 2008 for $26.6 million.

Right now OneTok is operating in closed beta, and the team is looking for willing devs to help test the fledgling platform. “The idea is to open the platform up to the general community in the third quarter or maybe halfway through the second quarter,” Mr. Lilienthal said.

Considering the harsh reviews and lawsuits lobbed at Siri recently, we’re not surprised that a startup that aims to make voice recognition better and more accessible is gaining traction. If only GrubHub would build OneTok into its mobile app, making it possible for us to order a milkshake just by saying so. Now that would be well worth a $1.5 million investment.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com