Software firm Dial2Do seals €1m funding deal


SOFTWARE FIRM Dial2Do has completed a funding round led by Powerscourt Capital Partners and Enterprise Ireland.

The Irish Timesunderstands the sum involved is €1 million. Powerscourt is making the investment through its ITC Business Expansion Scheme (BES) fund which invests in early-stage high potential companies.

Dial2Do has developed software which is used with hands-free headsets for mobile phones, allowing the wearer to send e-mail, text messages and even update social networking sites using voice commands.

The funding will be used for product development and sign-up deals with headset manufacturers, according to chief executive Ivan MacDonald. Although Dial2Do has a web version of its software that can be accessed from any phone using a headset, its primary route to market will be by providing the service as an add-on for new headset purchases.

US manufacturer South Wing will later this month launch a Bluetooth headset which includes the Dial2Do service. MacDonald says the South Wing headset will retail for $99 with the Dial2Do service costing an additional $25 a year.

Using voice recognition software, Dial2Do allows drivers to listen to e-mail and also dictate their own messages.

Users can sign up for the service free on the web and dial into their account using local access numbers in 26 countries. MacDonald says about 20,000 people have done so with about 70 per cent of the user base in the US.

“That’s really driven our research and development because we’ve been able to find out what people are using it for and enhance those areas,” says MacDonald.

The user-base is about 80/20 in favour of business-users with e-mail and texting the most popular applications.

MacDonald says in the US there is an increasing focus on the dangerous phenomenon of “distracted driving” with more states banning texting while driving. “That’s creating demand for hands-free kits and the manufacturers are looking for services like this to differentiate themselves,” he adds.

Headed up by Seán Melly, Powerscourt Capital Partners was an investor in one of McDonald’s previous ventures, e-Ware. It proved to be a good investment for Powerscourt and was sold to US software firm Computer Associates.