The latest round of funding will help the company continue to improve upon its speech recognition software and bring greater access to communication for those living with speech impairments.
Last week, Israeli-based speech recognition technology startup Voiceitt closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by Viking Maccabee Ventures. The company started out initially aiming to develop a mobile app that uses AI to recognize and translate unintelligible and atypical speech in real time.
With dozens of medical conditions that afflict the population at high rates annually — including cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke — the latest funding will help Voiceitt develop the software to serve those with speech impairments by providing better access to communication alternatives.
“Voiceitt provides a new dimension of independence and quality of life for people with speech and motor disabilities, and a compelling tool for those who care for and about them,” Voiceitt co-founder and CEO Danny Weissberg said. “With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our objectives are not only to support the individual’s in-person communication, but also to assist healthcare professionals and support the continuum of care for their patients.”
Part of Amazon’s Alexa Accelerator in 2018, Voiceitt earned the Alexa Fund investment, along with funding from venture capital groups like Cahn Capital, Microsoft’s M12, AMIT Technion, and Connecticute Innovations. The company also received support from several nonprofits, including AARP and The Disability Opportunity Fund. It has since partnered with the state of Tennessee, working with healthcare services, speech therapists, and organizations that serve speech-impaired individuals.
One of the issues that Voiceitt is focused on addressing in this new round of funding is the limitations on the technology due to each person’s specific vocal patterns. Since each impairment can come with a particular set of needs, new data to train the software will be key to move the technology forward.
“Everyone’s impairment is different, but there are certain similarities within a particular group of speech impairments,” said Stas Tiomkin, Voiceitt’s co-founder and CTO. “We work very hard to collect speech samples and build a generic acoustic model that then gets customized.”
Although Voiceitt looks to create an app that successfully integrates into the lives of those living with speech impairments, company leaders recognize the technology goes far beyond an app. “As we continue our growth, we are committed to our mission of making speech accessible to all,” Voiceitt co-founder and executive vice president Sara Smolley said. “Our long-term vision is to integrate Voiceitt’s customizable speech recognition with mainstream voice technologies to enable environmental control through a universally accessible voice system. Voiceitt’s versatile technology can be applied in a range of voice-enabled applications in diverse contexts and environments.”