The ability and growth of the audio market are often undermined compared to its counterpart, the video market. But in fact, the audio category is 40 times bigger than it was a century ago, two times bigger than it was 50 years ago, and has seen 30% growth since 1994, all in part due to the disruption of technology and accessibility.
The pandemic has spurred the audio market even further as online meetings require clear and concise audio communication. Audio to text transcription startups like Otter.ai are helping fill the shortfalls of video conferencing and gaining from the growing audio to text market that is projected to reach $8.69BN by 2028. Syncing with companies like Zoom to offer meeting transcriptions, the Los Altos, Californian-based tech company is experiencing rapid growth.
Also aiming at helping improve business meeting speech quality is BabbleLabs. Acquired by Cisco in August this year, the company focuses on noise reduction and speech enhancement technology and is set to improve the meeting tool Webex’s meeting experience.
Audio is simpler than text
Even though print media has been around for centuries, it was live radio that penetrated every single American household simultaneously driven by lower distribution costs through the use of radio broadcast technology. In the same fashion, Clubhouse has penetrated the chat market as the hottest invite-only audio-based social app where people can jump into different voice chat rooms together.
Another social-focused startup Stationhead turns any user into a radio DJ whether it be broadcasting among friends or with a greater crowd. This Brooklyn-based startup allows artists and music influencers to reach out to their audience in a new way while leveraging the existing music database from Apple and Spotify.
Audio for productivity The use of natural language processing (NLP) has given companies like Chorus.ai, Gong-io, and ASAPP an edge in aiming to improve business productivity. Chorus.ai, born out of San Francisco, California in 2015, is marketed as a conversation intelligence platform to help sales teams win more deals. Through transcribing calls and video conferences, sales teams can leverage the conversation transcriptions to see what works in the sales cycle.
Silicon Valley unicorn Gong.io is a direct competitor that offers similar tools using AI to transcribe and analyze various customer service and sales interactions and identify on the go suggestions to help steer the conversation in a positive direction. The company raised $200MM in its Series D1 funding that put it to its unicorn status.
New Yorker ASAPP focuses on customer service, aiming to automate the call center market through its AI technology, helping give customer service representatives suggested responses and resources when taking calls. It raised $185MM in its Series B funding in May this year and stated that the pandemic has driven interest for its platform.
San Francisco-based Rasa has run two product lines - Rasa Stack, machine learning libraries for developers to create contextual AI assistants and chatbots that go beyond simple questions; and Rasa Platform an enterprise-grade platform for conversational AI at scale. Founded in 2016 by Alan Nichol, Alex Rinke, and Alex Weidauer.
Goldman Sach's infrastructure arm, part of its merchant bank, agreed to invest an initial $500 million in a newly form platform called Global Compute Infrastructure LP. [Read more]
Since last week, PrivCo has added: 1866 Companies | 125 Funding Activities | 76 M&A Deals
Funding & Deal Highlights:
NextDoor, the neigbourhood-focused social network is looking to go public at a valuation of $5BN.
HandShake, a recruiting platform that connects college students with prospective employers, has raised $80MM in a Series D round led by GGV Capital.
Loop Media, a Burbank, California, media company focused on music videos and other premium short-form content, acquired Spkr, an audio platform centered on short-form content. It will also form Loop Media Studios to bank in on expanding into audio content.
Voss Automotive, a thermal management systems supplier from Fort Wayne, Indiana, acquired Henzel Automotive. Henzel has been successfully developing solutions for battery electric vehicles.
Calibre Scientific acquires Lorne Labs, a leader in blood grouping reagents from the UK. Calibre Scientific, headquartered in Los Angeles, is a global provider of life science reagents, tools, instruments, and other consumables to the lab research, diagnostics, industrial, and biopharmaceutical communities.
NPW Companies, based in Miami, Florida, acquired All Products Automotive, headquartered in Chicago. NPW Companies, a family-owned company, specializes in auto parts.
Sonrai Security nabs $20MM Series B round. New York-based, the company delivers an enterprise identity and data governance platform for AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes.
Telestream acquires content management software solution provider EcoDigital. Telestream is a digital workflow solution company focused on video space.
Instylla, a company developing a hydrogel that will improve patient outcomes, procedure efficiency, and enable new therapies, lands $25.4MM Series B financing
River, a New York-based content discovery platform founded in 2018 raises $10.4MM in Seed and Series A funding.