July 31, 2023
Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Over 7 out of 10 people* experience some form of speech anxiety when having to present in front of a group. At the same time, public speaking is considered to be one of the skills that greatly influence future career opportunities according to employers. Verble, a startup based in The Netherlands, has developed an AI speechwriter that helps you present your ideas persuasively. Since its launch three weeks ago, the tool has been used in over 108 countries.
Team Verble from left to right: Thibaut Gloaguen, Victor Straatman, Devin van den Berg, and Ronald Hagenstein.
"The launch did not go unnoticed. We were named the AI tool of the week by some of the world's largest AI newsletters and are already being used in 108 countries," says Victor Straatman, one of Verble's founders. "I'm personally part of the 70% who find it very intimidating to present in front of a group. In one-on-one conversations everything goes well, and I'm enthusiastic. But when I have to prepare a presentation for a group, I get stressed and don't know where to start."
It was a serendipitous meeting on a plane that sparked the idea for Verble.app. Victor was flying home from a tech conference in Lisbon in November 2022 when he asked his fellow passenger what he was doing for a living. Devin van den Berg replied that he was a public speaking coach with a passion for technology. As a three-time Dutch National Debate Champion and World Championship semi-finalist, he was interested in the idea of using AI to assist people in preparing their presentations: "During my training sessions, participants often joke that they learn a lot from the training, but wish that I would just be there everytime they need to prepare a talk, pitch or meeting. That's precisely what we're trying to achieve with Verble."
Together with co-founders Ronald Hagenstein (designer) and Thibault Gloaguen (developer), they decided to work on Verble.
Devin believes that the rapid development of AI makes it possible to replicate the feeling of having a coach by your side during preparation. "With ChatGPT, you can write a text in no time, but by building a tool that focuses on verbal communication specifically, we can do so much more. Verble doesn’t just create a text. It starts by asking personalized questions to learn more about the content of your pitch, speech, or presentation. It then drafts a first version of the talk for you. Afterwards you can tailor to your liking by, adding public speaking techniques used by the world's best speakers, and by creating convenient speaking notes that you can use when presenting"
The team has been overwhelmed by the reactions they've received in the first weeks. "We didn't quite know what to expect, but it suddenly took off. Even Microsoft has expressed their admiration for what we've built," says Victor.
Regarding the app's necessity, Devin says: "Practically every week there's an important conversation to prepare for. Whether you want to pitch an idea to your manager, persuade a colleague, or simply want to explain what your company does. We want every professional to have the opportunity to tell their story as effectively as possible. After all, it's about ensuring the best ideas are heard, not just those from who are the loudest."
Several studies from recent years indicate that fear of speaking is a common problem. Reports show that at least 40% to 76% of people experience some form of anxiety when speaking in front of large groups.
A 2020 study reveals that more than 70% of respondents feel anxious when they have to speak in front of a large audience - source: Gitnux Marketdata.
A study from 2001 found that 40% even have an extreme fear of this (glossophobia) - source: National Social Anxiety Center.
If you want to start writing a similar speech for your next event try Verble now and benefit from our temporary offer: We've unlocked all PRO features (normally $19 p/m) for free until the 1st of September. All you have to do is create an account!