SoundHound wants to take on Google and Amazon in voice AI

An extra $75 million should help get things moving.


When it comes to voice recognition software, SoundHound is definitely not as big a name as Google or Amazon -- yet. SoundHound has raised $75 million in support of its efforts to create artificial intelligence systems capable of recognizing complex human voices and commands, Bloomberg reports. Samsung and Nvidia, two companies that have previously partnered with SoundHound, were among the investors.

SoundHound already has Houndify, a proprietary AI technology capable of interpreting complex speech and other audio. The latest $75 million investment will go toward expanding this system into new territories and devices. In particular, the company is planning to grow its business across Asia and Europe.

SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer told Bloomberg he wants to place his voice-recognition AI in third-party IoT devices. This way, device manufacturers won't have to build their own AI systems and they won't need to rely on products from Google, Microsoft, Apple or Amazon. These companies offer closed systems that remove control from the device-maker, Mohajer said.

"We don't have an agenda to hijack your product," he 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." He promised that companies wouldn't lose control over their customers or data if they implemented SoundHound's technology.

This all seems like good timing on SoundHound's part -- 2017 is poised to be huge for voice-recognition technology in IoT devices and beyond.