Speech recognition technology scaleup Speechmatics has raised £50 million in Series B funding. 

Speechmatics says it has built the most accurate and inclusive speech-to-text engine available. Its aim is to understand every voice regardless of the speakers’ demographic, age, gender, accent, dialect or location. 

Historically, training data had to be manually tagged, classified or ‘labelled’ and therefore acceptable accuracy was only viable for a narrow set of the most commercially valuable speakers. 

The Speechmatics engine is trained through exposure to hundreds of thousands of individual voices using millions of hours of unlabelled, more representative voice data that doesn’t require human intervention. It says this has enabled a paradigm shift in accuracy, particularly for non-English languages, dramatically reducing both AI bias and errors in speech recognition.

It already understands 34 languages for live and pre-recorded media, with features including advanced punctuation and entity formatting (formatting of numbers, currencies and addresses). 

Led by Susquehanna Growth Equity with participation from existing investors AlbionVC and IQ Capital, the funding will be used to support global expansion across the United States and Asia-Pacific, improving infrastructure – particularly data centre capacity – and adding further firepower to its research and development.

The company is headquartered in Cambridge with offices in London, Boston (USA), Chennai (India) and Brno (Czech Republic). 

“Our progress in the last few years left us inundated with interest from investors for our Series B fundraise,” said CEO Katy Wigdahl. 

“We chose to work with Susquehanna Growth Equity because they have a fantastic global footprint and a history of supporting significant growth in software businesses. The team is smart and ambitious but also pragmatic which is critical in this environment.

“The patient capital will enable us to double down on our vision to close the gap between humanity and machines, which is incredibly exciting. The Speechmatics team is hugely ambitious. 

“We have a real heritage in speech technology combined with some of the world’s most talented speech and machine learning experts. We cannot wait to accelerate our growth and unlock the understanding of more and more voices.”

‘When I returned to work, I just didn’t feel myself’

Jonathan Klahr, MD of Susquehanna Growth Equity, will join the Speechmatics board.

“The Speechmatics team are undoubtedly a different pedigree of technologists,” he said.

“We started tracking Speechmatics when our portfolio companies told us that again and again Speechmatics win on accuracy against all the other options including those coming from ‘Big Tech’ players. 

“We are primed to work with the team to ensure that more companies can get exposed to and adopt this superior technology.”

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