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28 June, 2022 - 13:21 By Tony Quested

Speechmatics raises $62m fresh capital in US-Asia Pacific push

Cambridge speech recognition technology pioneer Speechmatics has raised $62 million Series B cash to facilitate a further uptick in capability as well as territorial expansion in the US and Asia-Pacific.

The round was led by Susquehanna Growth Equity in Pennsylvania with participation from existing investors AlbionVC in London and Cambridge’s IQ Capital.

Speechmatics’ vision is to be a world-leading speech platform, understanding every voice with human-level accuracy.

Globally expert in deep learning and speech recognition, Speechmatics has already built the most accurate and inclusive speech-to-text engine available. Its aim is to understand every voice regardless of the speakers’ demographic, age, gender, accent, dialect, or location. 

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. 

Following a major breakthrough in 2021, 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 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). 
Speechmatics works with customers and partners in any industry and with any use case – on-premises, via the cloud, and hybrid. 

Organisations ranging from 3Play Media, Veritone, Deloitte UK, and Vonage to government departments across the world already take advantage of its accuracy.

Speechmatics is headquartered in Cambridge UK with offices in London, Boston, Chennai and Brno, in the Czech Republic. The investment will be used to support global expansion across the United States and Asia-Pacific, improving infrastructure – particularly data centre capacity and adding further firepower to its research and development to deliver even more accurate understanding of even more voices.

CEO Katy Wigdahl 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.”

The unbridled enthusiasm over future prospects for the business was overwhelmingly shared by Jonathan Klahr, Managing Director of Susquehanna Growth Equity, who will join the Speechmatics board.

He said: “The Speechmatics team are undoubtedly a different pedigree of technologists. 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.”

IQ Capital has backed the business virtually from Day One. Managing partner Ed Stacey said: “Since investing in the seed round we’ve supported Speechmatics to become a world-leading company that is revolutionising how speech technology is being used – continuously driving AI and machine learning breakthroughs whilst rolling out a product that simply works in every industry use case in which it’s been tried. 

“We’re delighted to continue backing this very talented team as part of the new investment round.”

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