Dublin-based SoapBox Labs, which develops speech recognition technology that can model the distinctive voice and speech behaviours of young kids, has announced a Series A investment of $6.5 million from Elkstone Capital, Astia, and a number of unnamed private investors.
Soapbox Labs was founded in 2013 by speech engineer and scientist Dr. Patricia Scanlon, and its technology - referred to as 'Siri for kids' by some - is being used in a growing number of edtech applications, games, robotics and smart toys.
Why? According to SoapBox Labs, that's because its speech recognition tech caters to the 'idiosyncrasies and unique speech patterns of children' that traditional speech technology is simply unable to decode. That opens a range of opportunities for the startup.
In Scanlon's words: "SoapBox is at the nexus of some big trends right now – remote learning, voice, kidtech and data privacy. We’ve invested deeply over the last 7 years in our people and our technology. With this funding we’re poised to capitalize on our strengths and the global market opportunities opening up to us in literacy, language learning and toys."
"Having supported SoapBox Labs from the start, Elkstone are very pleased to be part of this latest funding round. SoapBox Labs are truly at the leading edge globally of voice technology for kids – and with voice-enabled tech becoming so pivotal, and huge multi market growth predicted – it’s an Irish company we’ll be hearing a lot more about," said Alan Merriman from Elkstone Capital.