Speechmatics, a startup in machine learning and automatic speech recognition, has raised £6.35m in Series A funding led by AlbionVC with IQ Capital also participating along with several angel investors.

Speechmatics has built one of the most accurate speech recognition technology engines in the world. The technology is currently available in 29 languages, either in the cloud or, crucially, on-premises ­– a critical feature for businesses who do not wish or are unable to share data in the cloud.

The diversity of languages and accuracy of the technology sets Speechmatics apart from other global brands in speech recognition. Speechmatics was recently awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the ‘Innovation’ category for 2019.

The automatic speech recognition (ASR) market is currently worth $7.5bn and is projected to be worth $21.5bn by 2024. Applications of Speechmatics technology include almost instant transcription of audio files, live subtitling in broadcast, and the conversion of call centre recordings into text.

Automatic speech recognition technology is now at a tipping point of being a fundamental element of human-machine interaction and is a vital component for businesses integrating machine learning and AI into their strategies across many sectors.

John Milliken, Chief Executive Officer of Speechmatics, said: “We’ve invested heavily into our product and machine learning capabilities to provide our customers with what we believe is the best speech recognition technology on the market.

“We recognise that businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of unlocking their voice data and utilising it for core business functions such as compliance, analytics, training and improving customer experience. This latest investment opens up not only global expansion but the opportunity for new product development and traction in new markets.”

Robert Whitby-Smith, Partner at AlbionVC added: “Speech software is a large and rapidly growing market and we believe Speechmatics’ small footprint language models, capable of flexible deployment in the cloud, on-premises or on-device will become of strategic importance in the evolving landscape. We believe Speechmatics is poised to become a significant global software company.”

Ed Stacey, Managing Partner at IQ Capital, added: “We have supported Speechmatics since IQ Capital first invested in 2016.

“All companies in our portfolio have the potential for global scale, and we believe Speechmatics, with over 75 languages in development, is set to become a global market leader in speech recognition and in allowing machines to understand natural languages.”