Circleback founders

Technology accelerator invests $500K in CS alums’ start-up

Meetings are a necessary ‘evil’ of the professional world. 

Although meetings are, overall, a great way to bring people together, impart information and drive momentum, they are often the bane of our existence, thanks to one fundamental problem.

Studies reveal that within just one hour, attendees forget 50 per cent of the content presented in a meeting. Even more alarming is that within one week, that number skyrockets to a staggering 90 per cent. How can a meeting be productive if nobody remembers what was said or agreed to?

Enter: Circleback and Y Combinator


When two UBC alums from the Business and Computer Science program, Ali Haghani and Kevin Jacyna, got out into the workforce and began attending numerous meetings, they recognized a gap and were motivated to find a way to use technology to improve productivity and retention. Their collective brainstorming led to envisioning AI as an expert note-taker and meeting facilitator. The work began, and the duo consequently launched their start-up, Circleback, in 2023. 

From its inception, Circleback has garnered significant attention, leading to the acquisition of funding to fuel further development. In 2023, the founders received $125K through the AI-focused Neo Accelerator, but more recently, they received $500K in funding as part of their acceptance into the Winter 24 batch of Y Combinator. Y Combinator is a technology start-up accelerator, which has already launched over 4,000 companies since its inception, including companies like Airbnb, Stripe, DoorDash, Twitch, and Instacart.

Since Circleback was founded, it has already been revolutionizing the way meetings are recorded and documented for users. The AI-driven app is designed to record and transcribe online and in-person meetings. Circleback goes beyond simple recording, providing users with action items and detailed post-meeting summaries, all crafted with the help of artificial intelligence.

One can seamlessly connect the app to a calendar, enabling it to sync with meetings effortlessly. Alternatively, you can add Circleback to a meeting using a link, hit record on your phone or laptop, or import a recording. As the meeting unfolds, Circleback automatically generates concise and useful notes, records action items, and captures and automatically takes action on essential insights. These notes are then emailed to both the user and other attendees. It also features a meeting assistant, facilitating the asking of questions or the drafting of follow-up emails. You can even ask it questions about any of your past meetings, like "What book did Alison refer to in the meeting?” Circleback will answer instantly. 

“The backing from Y Combinator provides access to world-class mentorship, tapping into the extensive network of other founders,” Haghani explains. “This opportunity is one of the best for anyone working on a tech start-up.” 

"Extraordinary outcomes boil down to doing extraordinary work at an extraordinary pace." ~ Ali Haghani

Haghani expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunity and said they are thrilled about the journey that lies ahead. They see the funding as a catalyst for propelling Circleback further, as they continue to focus on learning from their customers and building a product that caters to user needs. “We foresee every meeting becoming AI-enabled within the next two years and aim to position Circleback as the premier solution in this evolving landscape,” Haghani said.

As for other UBC Computer Science alums aspiring to launch start-ups, Haghani and Jacyna expressed the importance of taking action. “Just do it. Extraordinary outcomes boil down to doing extraordinary work at an extraordinary pace. Talk to people to make sure you're solving a real problem, and ‘build something people want',” said Haghani, quoting Y Combinator's hallmark phrase.

Circleback's success to date is also certainly not a one-off for UBC Computer Science students. Many other start-ups and spinoffs have achieved ground-breaking ventures after humble beginnings, thereby furthering a legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship emerging from the department. 

Circleback's success story not only heralds a new era in meeting productivity but also serves as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs within the UBC Computer Science community and beyond.

Read more about Circleback