“Voice skins” have become a very popular feature for AI-based voice assistants, to help customize some of the most innocuous aspects of useful talking voices, but also of a soft, robotic type, which you get in services like Alexa. Now, a startup that is creating voice skins so that different companies can use them among their services and that third parties can also create and implement them, raises some of the funding to fuel their growth.
LOVO, a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) voice and synthetic tools based in Berkeley, California, closed this week a pre-Series A round of $ 4.5 million led by Kakao Entertainment South Korean along with Kakao Investment and LG CNS, a subsidiary of LG Group IT solutions.
His former investor SkyDeck Fund and a private investor, DoorDash vice president of finance Michael Kim, also joined the funding.
The profits will be used to boost their research and development in artificial intelligence and synthetic speech and grow the team.
“We plan to hire a lot in all the functions, from the automatic learning, the artificial intelligence and the development of products to the development of marketing and business. The fund will also be used to raise resources such as GPUs and CPUs, ”co-founder and chief operating officer Tom Lee told TechCrunch.
LOVO, founded in November 2019, has 17 people, including the two co-founders, CEO Charlie Choi and COO Lee.
The company plans to double the improvement of LOVO’s artificial intelligence model, improve its artificial intelligence voices and develop a better product that surpasses any that exists in the current market, Lee said.
“Our goal is to be a world leader in providing AI voices that touch people’s hearts and emotions. We want to democratize the limitations of content production. We want to be the platform for all things voice related, ”Lee said.
With the mission, LOVO allows companies and individual content creators to generate voice-over content for use in marketing, e-learning, customer support, movies, games, chatbots and augmented reality (RA) and virtual reality. (VR).
“Since our launch just over a year ago, users have created more than 5 million voice content on our platform,” said co-founder and CEO Choi.
LOVO launched its first LOVO Studio product last year, which provides an easy-to-use app for individuals and businesses to find the voice they want, produce and publish their voice-over content. Developers can use the LOVO Voiceover API to convert text into real-time speech, integrated into their applications. Users can also create their own AI voices by simply reading the 15-minute script using LOVO’s DIY voice cloning service.
LOVO has more than 200 voice devices that provide users with voices classified by language, style and situation appropriate to their various needs.
The global text-to-speech (TTS) market is estimated at $ 3 billion, with the global voice-over market off at around $ 10 billion, according to Lee. The global TTS market is expected to grow to $ 5.66 billion in 2028, from $ 1.94 billion in 2020, according to the Research Interviewer report released in August 2021.
LOVO has already secured 50,000 users and more than 50 business customers, including the United States, JB Hunt, Bouncer, CPA Canada, LG CNS and South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, Lee said.
LOVO’s four core markets are marketing, education, movies, and entertainment and AR / VR games, Lee said. He noted that the movie “Spiral”, the latest film in the Saw series, includes LOVO’s voice in the film.
LOVO is expected to create additional synergies in the entertainment industry following the latest funding from a South Korean entertainment company.
Vice President of Kakao Entertainment’s Vision Office CEO JH Ryu said, “I am thrilled with LOVO’s synergies with Kakao Entertainment’s future efforts in the entertainment industry, especially with web novels and music,” he said. add Ryu, “AI technology opens the door to a new market for audio content and we look forward to a future in which an individual’s voice is used effectively as intellectual property and as an asset.”
SkyDeck Fund founding partner Chon Tang said: “Audio is uniquely appealing as a form of information, but it is also difficult to produce, especially at scale. LOVO’s artificial intelligence-based synthesis platform has consistently outperformed other cloud-based solutions in quality and cost. ”
LOVO is also preparing to penetrate more into international markets. “We have a strong presence in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and we receive signals from the rest of Europe, South America and Asia,” Lee said. LOVO has an office in South Korea and wants to expand to Europe soon, Lee added.