Audio Analytic secures $12m funding to give consumer electronics a sense of hearing
The world leader in sound recognition, Audio Analytic, will give more consumer electronics a sense of hearing after closing a $12million Series B funding round that attracted Silicon Valley support.
The Cambridge company’s technology is already used globally in many innovative devices - from Hive’s Hub 360 for the smart home to Bragi earphones - and it has launched partnerships with big names from Arm to Intel.
Existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital and IQ Capital have offered further backing in the latest funding round, which also featured “significant” new investment from Silicon Valley-based National Grid Partners.
Dr Chris Mitchell, founder and CEO of Audio Analytic, said: “Our Series A round in 2017 raised $5.5m. Since then we’ve doubled the size of the company, licensed our technology to leading players and seen their products make a significant impact on the smart home market.
“This investment enables us to invest in core technology and IP, further extend the number of sounds and scenes that our customer’s products can recognise.
“It supports the continued rollout of sound recognition to disrupt a broad range of devices such as smart speakers, hearables, automotive and mobile.”
Audio Analytic’s artificial intelligence-based sound recognition technology is embedded into devices to make them more useful and interesting to consumers, by reacting to contextual information provided by sound.
The Hive Hub 360, a smart home hub that looks after your property when you’re away, is able to recognise the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, dogs barking and windows being broken, and send a warning to your phone.
With Bragi, Audio Analytic is exploring the creation of smarter headphones that can recognise sounds like emergency sirens, a car horn, a doorbell or somebody talking and alert the wearer or change the settings to allow more sound through.
The company’s core platform features Alexandria, the world’s largest commercially-usable audio dataset for machine learning. It has millions of audio files organised taxonomically, with full data provenance, freeing licensees from any concerns over copyright.
The second key element is AuditoryNET, a highly-optimised deep neural network for sound recognition, which models the ideophonic features of sounds.
Founded in 2010, it moved into offices in Quayside in 2017 and has been growing steadily, licensing its technology to global brands, including Iliad and Sengled, and partnering withKnowles, Ambarella, Ambiq, Vesper, Frontier and others.
Chris said: “It was important that any new investment partners met a number of criteria: sharing our passion and ambition for AI and sound recognition, having extensive experience in both the European and Silicon Valley technology communities, being interested in a long-term partnership and enhancing our already stellar credibility in this market segment.
“IQ Capital, CIC, Rockspring Nominees Limited, Martlet and Cambridge Angels continue to support us on our journey and I’m thrilled that National Grid Partners has joined them.”
Lisa Lambert, National Grid’s chief technology and innovation officer and the founder and president of National Grid Partners, said: “Audio Analytic is one of the most compelling AI companies in the world.
“They are transforming the way technology companies utilise sound to deliver a better customer experience. The team has achieved a real breakthrough with the creation of this fundamentally new branch of AI, delivering considerable value to consumers.”
Andrew Williamson, managing partner of Cambridge Innovation Capital, added: “Cambridge has a strong track record of leading the field in developments to sound and speech recognition. Audio Analytic is a great example of this leadership.
“They have demonstrated that providing consumer electronics with a sense of hearing enables a step change in device functionality and performance. CIC is delighted to continue supporting their growth.”
Max Bautin, co-founder at IQ Capital, said: “Audio Analytic’s journey from a start-up to the world’s leading player in sound recognition has been very impressive. We are delighted to be a part of that journey and excited to see the highly professional team of National Grid join the syndicate.”
More by this authorPaul Brackley