The keyboard will be gone in five years and voice tech is 'the opportunity of a decade,' investor says
- Voice-enabled technology will end the need for keyboards within five years, a venture capitalist with a track record for successful bets says.
- Mangrove's Mark Tluszcz says voice will be a "massive change," and that many companies will be built that focus only on the technology.
- The tech has so far been a field dominated by the likes of Amazon and Google — even Facebook is working on its own voice assistant.
Voice-enabled technology will end the need for keyboards within five years, and investors should put their money into the space, a venture capitalist with a track record for successful bets has told CNBC.
"What's clear to me today is that the keyboard in five years will be gone as an input device," Mark Tluszcz, co-founder and CEO of Mangrove Capital Partners, said in an interview this week.
He said a struggle for the investment community when it comes to voice is figuring out whether voice recognition will be "a nice add-on" for companies or a "cataclysmic change to the user experience."
Tluszcz says his firm's bet is on the latter.
"Our thesis at Mangrove is it's a massive change," he said. "There are going to be many companies built that are only voice."
"Voice is the opportunity of a decade. I'm an optimist. An optimist that's been reasonably right many times."
Tluszcz has been known to back ventures that have ultimately resulted in a profitable return. Such investments include Skype, when it was originally bought by eBay in 2005, and Wix.com, which went public in 2013.
Voice-controlled tech has so far been a field dominated by large firms like Amazon — with its Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices — and Google — with the Google Assistant and Home. Even Facebook is working on its own voice assistant.
But Tluszcz says that's no reason to assume start-ups can't penetrate the space, and his venture capital firm has backed a French company called Sybel — which focuses on high-quality podcasts — to take advantage of the industry's growth.
While he thinks the tech giants are doing a "good job" at setting the standards for voice — for example, in recognizing less common accents — the industry will still require "massive innovation" and "new ways of using voice."
According to tech research firm Juniper Research, about 2.5 billion digital assistants were used by consumers across a range of devices at the end of 2018, and that number is expected to climb to 8 billion by 2023.
GameStop shares soar more than 100% amid executive shuffle
Charlie Munger doesn't know what's worse: Tesla at $1 trillion or bitcoin at $50,000
The Fed's system that allows banks to send money back and forth went down for several hours
Here's how much Americans have saved in their 401(k)s at every age
Charlie Munger says novice investors are getting lured into a bubble in 'dirty way' by Robinhood