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10 September, 2018 - 09:12 By Tony Quested

Speech recognition shooting star raises £3.1m

Cambridge Innovation Capital has led a £3.1 million seed funding round into AudioTelligence, a UK company delivering real-time audio processing technology for the enhancement of Automatic Speech Recognition systems. 

Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, and two Cambridge-based business angels also participated. AudioTelligence is a spin-out from CEDAR Audio and is based at the Broers Building in Cambridge.

Speech control is being used increasingly in consumer electronics with smart speakers being the world’s fastest-growing consumer technology segment in the first quarter of 2018 driven by Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home and several recent entrants such as Xiaomi.

AudioTelligence’s technology dramatically enhances the accuracy of ASR systems, such as those used in mobile devices, home assistants and voice-activated, hands-free automotive systems. 

It processes the output from low-cost uncalibrated microphones and delivers significant improvements in separating a speaker’s voice from background noise and other conversations. 

AudioTelligence’s technology also addresses other applications, such as the hearing assistance market.

Andrew Williamson, investment director at CIC said: “AudioTelligence’s source separation technologies have been built on world-leading research to provide a data-driven solution to the ‘cocktail party’ problem of isolating speech from a mix of other sounds. 
“These technologies significantly outperform existing 'state-of-the art' commercially available solutions and have the potential to improve materially the real-world performance of a whole host of voice activated electronic devices.”

Ken Roberts, CEO of AudioTelligence added: “This investment will enable us to build out our team to commercialise our source separation technologies. We are delighted with the support our investors are providing and look forward to working with them as we grow AudioTelligence.”

The company is a spin-out from Cambridge-based CEDAR Audio Limited, a world leader in audio restoration, dialogue noise suppression and speech enhancement for the entertainment and audio forensic sectors. 

AudioTelligence also uses technology developed by the Signal Processing Group of the University of Cambridge, one of the leading global academic departments in this field.

Simon Godsill, Professor of Statistical Signal Processing at the University of Cambridge and chairman of AudioTelligence’s Technical Advisory Board said: “AudioTelligence’s systems combine cutting edge technologies developed within the Signal Processing Group at Cambridge with those from CEDAR. With this sound scientific basis, the spin-out AudioTelligence marks an exciting milestone in the commercialisation of this world-leading expertise.”

Elaine Loukes, Investment Manager at Cambridge Enterprise added: “AudioTelligence is a spin-out from CEDAR Audio, which is the oldest company in our portfolio. It’s a real pleasure to be working with a new company that we know to have an excellent pedigree.”

For almost 30 years CEDAR Audio has been world leader in audio restoration, dialogue noise suppression and speech enhancement for the entertainment and audio forensic sectors.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Ken Roberts, CEO at AudioTelligence with Andrew Williamson, Investment Director at CIC

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