Doppl: Meet the start-up that can make you a digital doppelganger

14 Aug 2023

Founder and CEO Thibault Launay. Image: Doppl

Thibault Launay was only 22 when he started his first company. Now, the Forbes 30 under 30 honouree has more than 70,000 sign-ups for his latest platform.

For anyone who has seen the Black Mirror episode ‘Be Right Back’, understanding the concept behind Doppl won’t be a tall order.

Much like the then-science fiction tech in the episode starring Domhnall Gleeson and Hayley Atwell, Doppl uses artificial intelligence to create a digital replica of human beings. We’re talking digital twins: online manifestations of the real self that look, sound and even talk like you.

“Doppl’s unique generative technology allows our users to create digital twins of their own selves, using their data,” explains Thibault Launay, CEO and co-founder of the start-up based in Portugal.

“These AI-generated twins are interactive representations of individuals, which can be used in many digital formats, and can be seen as the natural evolution of how we represent ourselves in high utility social media.”

Dubbed Doppls, these AI creations are generated by learning from a user’s characteristics and data. “We ensure individuals maintain complete authority over their encrypted data and can control the usage of their Doppl,” the 33-year-old entrepreneur adds.

‘Sharing an authentic part of ourselves’

The goal, according to Launay, is to offer people the “priceless” gift of time.

“While your Doppl completes a task for you, you gain an extra few hours of your day back, improving the quality of life for countless individuals – and this is our vision,” said Launay, an alumnus of Paris Dauphine and Harvard Business School.

“We see potential in lending its cognitive powers to scientific research, enabling breakthroughs in fields like medical treatments, renewable energy and space exploration, all while allowing for a deeper level of introspection as well as sharing an authentic part of ourselves with others.”

Doppl uses proprietary tech to create AI versions of real humans across various formats, including text, audio and even video. It does this by analysing data fed to it by the user, which can be anything from text conversations and photos to audio notes and videos.

For individuals, Launay says this opens up “a new realm” of social media capabilities.

“To date, social media has been centred around digital artefacts of ourselves that are fragmented, self-curated and often manipulated to show the best version of ourselves. The natural evolution of high utility social media is to show a more authentic version of ourselves that is interactive for the public, but also for ourselves,” he explains.

“For celebrities and influencers, Doppl’s AI twin creation product enables fans to interact with AI replicas of well-known celebrities and figures, bridging the gap between celebrities and their followers in a unique and immersive manner.

“This enables them to license their likeness for ads, activations and new interactive ways to communicate with their fans.”

The story so far

Launay’s interest in entrepreneurship started early. In 2012, he started his first company at just 22. Less than a decade later, he founded Exclusible, which he describes as a “one-stop-shop” for Web3 and metaverse focusing on digital luxury experiences.

But ever since the boom in generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, Launay’s mind has been fixated on creating something ground-breaking by addressing a market gap.

While he is still the CEO of Exclusible, Launay assembled a team of experts and spun out Doppl in June 2023. The team includes Chris Anderson, formerly of IGN and GameFly, as chief product officer and Alex Raymond, who was engine team lead at Speechmatics, as head of AI.

Launay himself is a Forbes 30 under 30 honouree who featured as part of the list of social entrepreneurs in Europe for his company Pigzbe, which taught financial literacy to children using a modern ‘piggy wallet’ through which parents send kids digital pocket money.

His latest endeavour Doppl was featured in Forbes recently, where it is described as a start-up that is “raising the game” when it comes to our digital selves. “It’s not a better version of you – it is you,” Launay told the publication.

Now, just two months into existence, Doppl has already attracted 70,000 sign ups to its waitlist. And while raising funds is not the end goal for Launay, it is a necessary step and so Launay is currently looking to attract strategic investment that will help Doppl grow.

“Building a strong AI product, a strong team and raising funds takes time,” he says. “I can say it was much easier to raise funds in 2021 than 2023, but I am confident we will raise funds soon as we have a super strong team.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic