Funding to drive adoption and distribution of Houndify voice AI platform
SoundHound, provider of voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) and conversational intelligence technologies, has announced $100 million in new funding from a group of strategic investors. Participants in the round include Tencent Holdings, Daimler, Hyundai Motor Company, Midea Group, and Orange. These companies join SoundHound’s existing list of strategic investors including Samsung, NVIDIA, KT Corporation, HTC, NAVER, LINE, Nomura, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, and Recruit. This combined group reaches over two billion users globally.
SoundHound will use the new funding to drive adoption and distribution of its Houndify voice AI platform across verticals including automotive, Internet of Things, consumer products, and enterprise apps and services. The funding will accelerate global expansion, including new offices in China, France and Germany, in addition to furthering momentum in the US, Japan, and South Korea.
“With the rapid adoption of voice-enabled human-machine interfaces, Orange is committed to improving customer experience by offering end users the most advanced Speech-to-Meaning capability in our upcoming AI-powered virtual assistant,” said Luc Bretones, senior vice president, Technocentre and Orange Fab. “Our ambition is to develop a digital interface that is able to recognise the full range of human expressions and emotions.”
“Voice-enabled AI and conversational interfaces represent the next major focus in human-computing interaction that will impact every business in the years to come,” said Keyvan Mohajer, cofounder and CEO at SoundHound. “We built the Houndify platform to enable this massive paradigm shift, and we are uniquely positioned to guide our partners in developing their voice AI strategies, while enabling them to maintain control over their own customers, data and brand. We look forward to bringing the advancements that we’ve created to the Chinese and European markets.”
Houndify is an independent AI platform that allows developers and businesses to deploy a conversational interface while maintaining control of their brand and users. That control has become an increasingly important factor as companies risk disintermediation if they integrate with technology companies that have popularised their own voice assistants, claimed Soundhound.
More than 60,000 partners have registered on the Houndify platform since its launch in December 2015 and more than 1,000 distinct products are being powered by Houndify. At CES in January, SoundHound announced several integrations of its Houndify platform into various products, including a partnership with Hyundai in its Intelligent Personal Agent, a new voice-enabled virtual assistant system, in addition to integrations with HUMAX, BUNN, Mayfield Robotics, AvatarMind Robots, Modiface, PhotoSpring and Onkyo.