Aflorithmic, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to create synthetic audio for personalised text-to-voice purposes, has raised $1.3m in a seed funding round.
The London and Barcelona-based startup said it would use the capital injection for R&D, developing its voice cloning tech and for talent acquisition.
Australian media and marketing company Crowd Media was the sole investor in the round. As part of the deal, Alforithmic’s technology will be integrated with Crowd’s social commerce solutions, including its CM8 ‘Talking Head’ chatbot.
Founded in 2019, Aflorithmic says it has created software that can automate audio production by converting text to audio read in a user’s own voice or one selected from a “vast” voice library.
Dubbed ‘audio-as-a-service’, Aflorithmic says its technology has multiple commercial use cases. This includes creating “podcast-quality audio” from a text input, with reduced production costs.
The technology could also be used for social commerce applications, which could include cloning celebrity voices for marketing purposes.
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“Synthetic audio production has a seemingly endless range of functions – the potential within marketing applications alone is mind-blowing,” said Timo Kunz, co-founder, and CEO at Aflorithmic.
“Imagine Kim Kardashian being a personal shopper for each of her 200 million followers, or Lewis Hamilton explaining why YOU personally need the new Pirelli P Zero Rosso. All of this is just around the corner with our tech.”
However, it’s unclear whether cloning a celebrity’s voice without permission for marketing purposes would be permitted under copyright laws.
Other use cases include personalised audiobooks in which a children’s story is narrated by a family member or celebrity of choice. Alforithmic is also exploring the use of its technology in education, gaming, health and wellness, along with other sectors.
Last month audio editing platform Descript closed a $30m Series B as the popularity of podcasting shows no sign of abating.
“I believe we can translate the most recent advances in AI research into commercial innovations that will completely reshape the way consumers engage in eCommerce,” said Crowd Media Chairman Steven Schapera. “This is the silver bullet Crowd was looking for.”