HarQen, on Milwaukee’s east side offers a suite of applications which is utilized by everyone from Human Resources staff to call center managers, and from genealogists to singles. Harnessing recorded voice, HarQen’s applications can categorize and file recorded conversations, apply keywords to them, and put them to work for you. Imagine your HR manager being able to easily organize the phone interviews for dozens of applicants. Imagine being able to point and click on a potential date’s name and hear him or her talk about their ideal date. Imagine being able to train an entire room of Customer Service Representatives on phoning skills and being able to play back their interviews at the click of a mouse. With HarQen’s suite of applications, this is already a reality.
I sat down with one of the voices of this “voice as an asset” organization named Jeff Larche. Jeff started by giving me a history lesson going back all the way to cavemen and to humankind’s original asset–our voices and the ability to use it to share stories. Throughout history, the stories our voices tell have been the main vehicle for keeping legends and lessons alive. Voice is still what our brains are most trained to receive the most meaning from and one of the reasons that children are taught to speak a language before they learn to write it.
So how did this thinking inspire HarQen? Originally, HarQen’s voice application was used for people to call in with jokes to share with other users and radio shows. Running a site for jokes was great for co-founders Kelly Fitzsimmons and her husband, but they knew they needed to cover costs and make money, as well. Using the same simple application they were using already, they added more capabilities to build an application suite that could help businesses record and organize conversations. The service also allows screeners a more in-depth look into how someone says something instead of just what they say, which can prove very helpful to their clients who screen job applicants and for HarQen’s dating service clients to screen potential dating matches.
As a company, Jeff describes the start-up as “a fun, young, and intelligent team of people with a very family-like feel”. Jeff said that the most exciting thing about working for HarQen is that they have created an entirely new category of business application instead of simply improving upon an already existing idea. With all of the new ways we have to communicate and share in text, HarQen is betting that teaching the old dog of voice some new tricks is the best story of all.