Category: natural language understanding

Krisp nearly triples fundraise with $9M expansion after blockbuster 2020



Krisp, a startup that uses machine learning to remove background noise from audio in real time, has raised $9M as an extension of its $5M A round announced last summer. The extra money followed big traction in 2020 for the Armenian company, which grew its customers and revenue by more than an order of magnitude.

TechCrunch first covered Krisp when it was just emerging from UC Berkeley’s Skydeck accelerator, and co-founder Davit Baghdasaryan was relatively freshly out of his previous role at Twilio. The company’s pitch when I chatted with them in the shared office back then was simple and remains the core of what they offer: isolation of the human voice from any background noise (including other voices) so that audio contains only the former.

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that the company appears to have benefited immensely from the shift to virtual meetings and other trends accelerated by the pandemic. To be specific, Baghdasaryan told me that 2020 brought the company a 20x increase in active users, a 23x increase in enterprise accounts and 13x improvement of annual recurring revenue.

The rise in virtual meetings — often in noisy places like, you know, homes — has led to significant uptake across multiple industries. Krisp now has more than 1,200 enterprise customers, Baghdasaryan said: banks, HR platforms, law firms, call centers — anyone who benefits from having a clear voice on the line (“I guess any company qualifies,” he added). Enterprise-oriented controls like provisioning and (Read more...)

With AI translation service that rivals professionals, Lengoo attracts new $20M round



Most people who use AI-powered translation tools do so for commonplace, relatively unimportant tasks like understanding a single phrase or quote. Those basic services won’t do for an enterprise offering technical documents in 15 languages — but Lengoo’s custom machine translation models might just do the trick. And with a new $20 million B round, they may be able to build a considerable lead.

The translation business is a big one, in the billions, and isn’t going anywhere. It’s simply too common a task to need to release a document, piece of software or live website in multiple languages — perhaps dozens.

These days that work is done by translation agencies, which employ expert speakers to provide translation on demand at a high level of quality. The rise of machine translation as an everyday tool hasn’t affected them as much as you might think, since the occasional Portuguese user using Google’s built-in webpage translation on a Korean website is very much a niche case, and things like translating social media posts or individual sentences isn’t really something you could or would farm out to professionals.

In these familiar cases, “good enough” is the rule, since the bare meaning is all anyone really wants or needs. But if you’re releasing a product in 10 different markets speaking 10 different languages, it won’t do to have the instructions, warnings, legal agreements or technical documentation perfect in one language and merely fine in the other nine.