Montreal-based Fluent.ai Inc., an artificial intelligence startup focused on developing highly accurate and flexible voice interfaces has closed $1.8 million in seed financing. The oversubscribed round included investors such as BDC Capital, Danhua Capital, top AI investors from the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), and experienced angel investors from the Maple Leaf Angels.
Fluent.ai is now graduating from incubator program Tandemlaunch, and is leveraging proprietary IP originally developed within leading international research universities. Funding proceeds will be used to further the commercialization of Fluent.ai’s reliable and language-agnostic voice interface software which can fully run onboard on embedded devices, or in the cloud.
“Fluent.ai’s technology addresses many of the problems with current voice interfaces with its limited training data set and compute power. In addition, the technology’s ability to work accurately in any language and perform well in noisy conditions, represents a tremendous market opportunity, especially in the era of IoT and edge computing,” said Dovey Wan, Managing Director of Danhua Capital.
Their patented acoustics-only solution learns the meaning of specific speech patterns and triggers actions accordingly. Because it doesn’t rely on standardized text-based vocabularies, it aligns to individual users, even those with complex languages, accents or voice impairments very easily. It understands users far better at first and then improves over time with accuracy approaching 100% — significantly beyond the closest alternative. Its ability to function offline allows for enhanced user security and privacy.
“BDC Capital, through its Venture Acceleration Program, decided to invest in Fluent.ai because of its strong technical team, experienced CEO, large global market opportunity, and the support of knowledgeable strategic advisors, including those of the Creative Destruction Lab,” said Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, Strategic Investments and Women in Tech at BDC Capital. “Artificial intelligence is also a strategic sector for us, as we believe that artificial intelligence is an area where Canadian talent can truly shine and become a game changer.”
“Fluent.ai and its accomplished leaders have been an excellent addition in CDL’s machine learning stream and over the last six months they won over the support of the CDL Fellows who see a great many AI-oriented companies. In fact, to our knowledge, the CDL is home to the largest concentration of AI-enabled startups of any program in the world. Fluent.ai stood out even among this elite group,” said Ajay Agrawal, professor at the University of Toronto and Founder of the Creative Destruction Lab.
“I am very pleased with strong market interest and the investment community’s overwhelming response,” added Niraj Bhargava, CEO of Fluent.ai. “With the support of a solid group of investors and partners from Canada, Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia, we are in a strengthened position to further build our team and accelerate the commercialization of a unique and valuable AI voice interface solution.”
Fluent.ai sidesteps the need to convert speech to text and instead learns to understand the meaning of audible speech — in any language or accent. The result is highly flexible, accessible and accurate voice interface solution that performs robustly even in offline and noisy environments.
“TandemLaunch has been very helpful and continues to be. We are pleased to be an active participant in the growing AI ecosystem in Montreal and in Canada and will be leveraging the strengths of the ecosystem as we build Fluent.ai’s continued success,” Niraj told MTLinTECH. “We will be expanding the team in Montreal. We have openings on our website and are immediately looking for developers and researchers, especially with machine learning experience.”