A former singer has raised £300,000 in pre-seed funding for her speech recognition startup.

Dia Thanki’s Alchemy Machines transcribes, analyses and summarises legal-specific web meetings and phone calls.

SFC Capital led the round into the ‘conversational intelligence’ firm that captures not only the words spoken but also the emotion and sentiment behind them. The round included Innovate UK grant funding.

Thanki developed the platform with the aim of reducing transcription costs for law firms and freeing up increasingly overburdened trainee lawyers and secretarial staff to focus on high-value work.

“High attrition rates in professional services mean that new generations of lawyers and accountants don’t want to spend their time on menial administrative tasks,” said Thanki. 

“This has a knock-on effect on support staff and in legal firms specifically, secretaries are working for an increasing number of lawyers, with the ratio expected to be 20 legal professionals per secretary by 2027. 

“Our platform delivers richer, more insightful transcriptions and analytics for remote collaboration.”

Alchemy Machines claims its technology is tailored to the requirements of UK GDPR laws, providing protection from the risk of negligence claims if notes are misplaced by storing all information securely.

It also offers the ability to anonymise the voices of meeting participants. The software can be integrated with web conferencing platforms and users simply need to press record to activate the transcription recording feature. 

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Thanki added: “I was involved in a car accident and due to the injuries, I was looking for an app that could transcribe legal-specific calls with my personal injury lawyer. 

“At the time, I did not find any app with high accuracy, therefore I decided to research how to build it – two years later, we developed a MVP that has evolved into much more than a speech-to-text app. 

“Transcription technology has become increasingly popular and sophisticated in recent years thanks to sizable leaps in natural language processing and machine learning. Unfortunately, some industries could not benefit due to strict regulations. 

“We aim to fill this gap to help highly regulated firms – starting with legal and then accounting and insurance –  improve efficiency and reduce costs by providing a solution built specifically to meet the organisational and regulatory needs of these sectors. We are thrilled to work with SFC Capital in our growth journey.”