SoundHound Gets $75M To Build AI Voice Systems

SoundHound, the music recognition app, has raised $75 million, which it will use to build artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can help machines better understand human voices.

According to a report in Bloomberg News, SoundHound is betting voice will be the main way people interact with IoT devices and is aiming to get device makers to use AI tools that the company develops instead of doing it on their own. Bloomberg noted that SoundHound is one of a handful of companies that build AI technology from scratch that can listen to and interpret sound. Only big-name technology companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Baidu, use their own in-house-built AI, said Keyvan Mohajer, the chief executive of SoundHound, in the report.

“We don’t have an agenda to hijack your product,” Mohajer said “If you use Amazon, you lose your brand, your users. You have to ask your user to log into their Amazon account, they have to call on Alexa, and all the data belongs to them.”

Meanwhile, when customers build voice-enabled devices or apps using SoundHound’s technology, the startup doesn’t own the users or data, he said.

According to the report, investors in the latest round of funding include Samsung Electronics’ Catalyst Fund and Nvidia Corp., the graphics chip maker. Other investors include Nomura Group, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and the SharesPost 100 Fund. SoundHound software is already integrated with Samsung, and the startup has worked with Nvidia in the past to combine speech recognition with its auto infotainment systems, Bloomberg reported. SoundHound expects to work on more projects with the company’s new investors. The SoundHound executive declined to provide more details on that front, noted Bloomberg.