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Speechmatics raises $62m as AI speech-to-text progress delights investors

Speech-to-text leaders Speechmatics has raised $62m in Series B funding as the scaleup moves closer to its goal – a platform which understands every human voice in any language with human-level accuracy.

In the Speechmatics studio
In the Speechmatics studio

The investment round was led by Susquehanna Growth Equity with participation from existing investors AlbionVC and IQ Capital.

Having pioneered machine learning voice engineering, Speechmatics is enabling companies to build applications that detect and transcribe voice in any context and in real-time. Its neural networks consider acoustics, languages, dialects, multiple speakers, punctuation, capitalisation, context and implicit meanings.

The Speechmatics engine already understands 34 languages for live and pre-recorded media. Industry-leading features include advanced punctuation and entity formatting (formatting of numbers, currencies, and addresses). Organisations ranging from 3Play Media, Veritone, Deloitte UK, and Vonage to government departments across the world already take advantage of its accuracy.

Speechmatics, Katy Wigdahl, CEO
Speechmatics, Katy Wigdahl, CEO

Katy Wigdahl, CEO, Speechmatics, said: “Our progress in the last few years left us inundated with interest from investors for our Series B fundraise. We chose to work with Susquehanna Growth Equity because they have a fantastic global footprint and a history of supporting significant growth in software businesses. The team is smart and ambitious but also pragmatic which is critical in this environment.

“The patient capital will enable us to double down on our vision to close the gap between humanity and machines, which is incredibly exciting. The Speechmatics team is hugely ambitious. We have a real heritage in speech technology combined with some of the world’s most talented speech and machine learning experts.

“We cannot wait to accelerate our growth and unlock the understanding of more and more voices.”

Speechmatics was founded in 2006 by Tony Robinson and is based on Cambridge Science Park. Historically, training data had to be manually tagged, classified or ‘labelled’ and therefore acceptable accuracy was only viable for a narrow set of the most commercially valuable speakers.

Speechmatics’ AI breakthrough has enabled its software to beat tech giants in tackling bias and inclusion to understand all voices. The Speechmatics speech-to-text engine is now trained through exposure to hundreds of thousands of individual voices using millions of hours of unlabelled, more representative voice data that doesn’t require human intervention. This has enabled a paradigm shift in accuracy, particularly for non-English languages, dramatically reducing both AI bias and errors in speech recognition. The company won a Queen’s Award in 2019.

Jonathan Klahr, managing director of Susquehanna Growth Equity, joins the Speechmatics board. He said: “The Speechmatics team is undoubtedly a different pedigree of technologists.

The Speechmatics portal
The Speechmatics portal

“We started tracking Speechmatics when our portfolio companies told us that again and again Speechmatics wins on accuracy against all the other options including those coming from ‘big tech’ players. We are primed to work with the team to ensure that more companies can get exposed to and adopt this superior technology.”

Robert Whitby-Smith, partner at AlbionVC, said: “Our view is voice will become the increasingly dominant human-machine interface and Speechmatics is the category leader in applying deep learning to speech, with category defining accuracy and understanding across industry use-case and requirements.

“We have witnessed the impressive growth of the team and product over the last few years since our Series A investment in 2019 and as responsible investors we are delighted to support the company’s inclusive mission to understand every voice globally.”

Ed Stacey, managing partner at IQ Capital, added: “We’re delighted to continue backing this very talented team as part of the new investment round.”

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