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SoundHound Inc. Raises $75 Million to Drive Growth and International Expansion of Houndify AI Voice Technology Platform and “Collective AI”
SoundHound Inc.®, the leading innovator in voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies, today announced $75 million in new funding. The round includes a strategic group of investors including NVIDIA GPU Ventures, Samsung Catalyst Fund, Nomura Holdings, Inc., Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., and RSI Fund I (a VC arm of Recruit Holdings). Other new investors such as Kleiner Perkins, SharesPost 100 Fund, and MKaNN are joining previous investors Global Catalyst Partners, Walden Venture Capital, and TransLink Capital. SoundHound Inc. has raised $115 million in funding to date.
The new funding will be used to accelerate growth, invest in international expansion and realize the company’s vision of Collective AI through its Houndify™ platform. Houndify is the first independent AI platform that enables developers and business owners to deploy it anywhere and retain control of their brand and users, while differentiating and innovating. Houndify provides all the technology ingredients necessary for voice and AI integration, including the world’s fastest speech recognition, the most sophisticated natural language understanding, easy to use developer tools, knowledge graphs, and a large and rapidly growing number of domains. Domains are programs that provide a natural and fully conversational interface on specific topics, without requiring the users to memorize and use the specific phrasing of hard coded commands or skills. Houndify technologies represent 10 years of R&D and innovation by SoundHound Inc., resulting in significant and unique advantages.
One of the key advantages of Houndify is its architecture for collaborative intelligence called “Collective AI,” a powerful mechanism that facilitates collaboration among developers in a conversational intelligence environment. Collective AI enables developers to extend the functionality of existing knowledge domains without needing access to or a full understanding of the underlying libraries. This results in a global AI with comprehensive knowledge that is always learning, is crowdsourced to domain experts, and is larger than the sum of its parts. Houndify’s Collective AI architecture already provides access to knowledge and data from Yelp, Uber and Expedia, as well as over 100 other domains such as weather, stocks, sports, local businesses, flights, hotels, mortgage, and even interactive games. Houndify also provides a large number of domains specifically targeted for the automotive industry.
“We are at the inflection point of our long-term vision that every product or service needs to have a smart voice-enabled interface, and consumers have increasingly high expectations for this requirement, beyond simple commands or skills,” said Keyvan Mohajer, co-founder and CEO of SoundHound Inc. “With this strategic investment, we will bring the power of the proprietary technology behind our independent Houndify platform to even more users globally and amplify the rollout of our Collective AI architecture.”
In addition to advancing this vision of Collective AI, the funding will be used to further drive international expansion, particularly to Asia and Europe. Several of SoundHound Inc.’s strategic investors will be shipping products or services that take advantage of the company’s Houndify AI platform and its patented Speech-to-Meaning™ and Deep Meaning Understanding™ technologies. Within the first year of its launch, over 20,000 developers have registered to use the Houndify platform for their products, including strategic partners Samsung ARTIK Smart IoT platform, and NVIDIA, which brings Houndify’s large vocabulary speech recognition and natural language understanding to cars even without cloud connection by utilizing NVIDIA GPUs. SoundHound also uses NVIDIA GPUs for fast training of the models powering its Houndify platform.
“AI and deep learning are fueling all areas of our business, allowing customers to tackle previously unsolvable computing problems,” said Jeff Herbst, Vice President of Business Development at NVIDIA. “Combining Houndify’s Collective AI technology with NVIDIA’s deep learning platform enables an exceptional solution to understanding complex natural conversation that scales rapidly and seamlessly into new products and applications.”
“Samsung Catalyst Fund accelerates technological innovation by inspiring the brightest minds and ideas and providing access to Samsung’s global resources and expertise,” said Shankar Chandran, managing director and head of Samsung Catalyst Fund. “We believe the best innovations occur when ideas are shared through open ecosystems and collaboration. That is at the heart of what the team at SoundHound Inc. is building with their vision of Collective AI, which provides the tools and platform for developers to build more intelligent solutions easily and rapidly.”
This funding round comes at a time when the projected $14.4 trillion Internet of Things market has an increasing need for practical and innovative AI technologies, including natural language processing and voice interfaces. With over 20,000 partners on Houndify, hundreds of millions of mobile app downloads globally, and more than 100 patents, SoundHound Inc. is the only privately held company to own an entire suite of proprietary speech and language understanding technologies. At a time when every company needs to have a strategy around AI, Houndify is the only independent platform that is allowing its partners to develop, own and control their own AI strategy, data, and brand.
Houndify is featured in SoundHound Inc.’s mobile apps: Hound, the voice search & assistant app, and SoundHound, the music search, discovery and play app, making them hands-free and voice interface enabled. Houndify supports other technology and service providers to make their offerings available to its large and growing developer community, such as the recent partnership with SELVAS AI, which allows Houndify users to incorporate more than 20 distinct text-to-speech solutions in multiple languages into their products or services. SoundHound Inc. recently announced several new partnerships that use the Houndify platform such as Rand McNally, which uses the company’s voice technology in its OverDryve™ connected car device; a collaboration with Onkyo, to develop and market a next-generation series of smart speakers powered by Houndify; an integration of Houndify in Sharp’s RoBoHoN® platform; and a collaboration with Shenzhen Tanscorp Technology Co. for the Robot LQ-101, an intelligent family service robot.
Developers interested in exploring the Houndify platform can visit Houndify.com to learn more and register. The Hound voice search and assistant app is available as a free iOS or Android app, and can be downloaded via SoundHound.com/Hound.
About SoundHound Inc.
SoundHound Inc. turns sound into understanding and actionable meaning. We believe in enabling humans to interact with the things around them in the same way we interact with each other: by speaking naturally to mobile phones, cars, TVs, music speakers, and every other part of the emerging ‘connected’ world. Our consumer product, Hound, leverages our Speech-to-Meaning™ and Deep Meaning Understanding™ technologies to create a groundbreaking smartphone experience, and is the first product to build on the Houndify platform. Our SoundHound product applies our technology to music, enabling people to discover, explore, and share the music around them, and even find the name of that song stuck in their heads by singing or humming. Through the Houndify platform, we aim to bring voice-enabled AI to everyone and enable others to build on top of it. We call this Collective AI Our Mission: Houndify everything.