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12 June, 2019 - 21:08 By Tony Quested

Silicon Valley firm pitches into Audio Analytic $12m Series B

Chris Mitchell

Cambridge-based Audio Analytic, a pioneer of sound recognition, has closed a $12 million Series B round to support its vision to give all machines a sense of hearing, beyond speech and music. 

The investment comes from two of the company’s existing investors – Cambridge Innovation Capital and IQ Capital – with significant new investment from Silicon Valley-based National Grid Partners.

Audio Analytic pioneered cutting-edge AI sound recognition technology which can be embedded into consumer devices to make them more helpful to people, by understanding and reacting to the contextual information provided by sounds. 

Products featuring the company’s technology have already been deployed globally, and several of the world’s leading technology companies are licensees and 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.

“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.”

Audio Analytic’s core technology platform comprises two synergistic parts:-

  • Alexandria™ is the world’s largest commercially-usable audio dataset for machine learning, featuring millions of audio files that are organised taxonomically, with full data provenance – freeing licensees from concerns over copyright.
  • AuditoryNET™ is a highly-optimised deep neural network for sound recognition, which models the ideophonic features of sounds.

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 utilize 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.”

And 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.”

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