SoundHound Secures $100M To Strengthen Voice AI Platform, Alliance With Major Companies

SoundHound, developer of sound-recognition and sound-search technologies, on Thursday will announce $100 million in new funding from a group of strategic investors that brings the company’s total funding to $215 million. The funding creates an alliance with leading companies. Through the alliance, SoundHound has access to more than 2 billion consumers globally. 

Within the alliance, new investors Tencent Holdings, Daimler AG, Hyundai Motors, Midea Group, and Orange S.A. join previous investors Samsung Catalyst, NVIDIA, KT Corporation, HTC, Never, LINE, Nomura, Sompo, and Recruit.

Keyvan Mohajer, cofounder and chief executive officer of SoundHound, said the company will use the funds to drive adoption and distribution of its Houndify voice AI platform across verticals such as automotive, Internet of Things, consumer products, and enterprise apps and services. it also will build out the technology, allowing users to ask incredibly complex questions and get accurate answers.

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Funding also will accelerate global expansion with new offices in China, France and Germany, as well as further momentum in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.

Mohajer said it's important for SoundHound to remain independent and develop its own core technology, but the company will work with its partners to collaborate on products.

More than 60,000 partners have registered on SoundHound’s artificial intelligence platform, Houndify, since its launch in December 2015, and more than 1,000 products are being powered by the technology.

Amazon and Google have a consumer base, but nowhere near as large as the network SoundHound has created with more than 15 major corporations and their customers. About 11 automakers work with SoundHound.

Behind the success sits a white-label technology, a conversational voice assistant, and many custom features that allow brands like Mercedes to create voice-enabled assistants for devices under their brand, rather than Amazon’s or Google’s.

With more than a decade of research and development, the  conversational interface and collective AI technology provides answers to specific topics, from weather to spots that can be enabled in any product without requiring users to memorize and use the specific phrasing of hard-coded commands or skills. The platform even allows the users to ask complex questions such as “show me all Asian restaurants except for Chinese.”  

The Houndify platform’s Collective AI architecture already provides access to knowledge and data from Yelp, Uber and Expedia, as well as more than 100 other domains such as weather, stocks, sports, local businesses, flights, hotels, mortgage, and interactive games.

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