Montréal voice recognition software company Fluent.ai Inc has raised $1.8 million in a seed-stage financing. The round was backed by BDC Capital, Danhua Capital, investors affiliated with Creative Destruction Lab and Maple Leaf Angels. Fluent.ai, which is now graduating from TandemLaunch‘s incubation program, is focused on developing a voice recognition software solution to be used in the products and services of original equipment manufacturers and user interface designers. Led by CEO Niraj Bhargava, the company plans to use the funds raised to commercialize its technology.
Fluent.ai raises CA$1.8 million in seed financing to accelerate commercialization of its AI voice interface technology
MONTREAL – May 11, 2017 –Fluent.ai Inc. (or the “Company”), a Canadian artificial intelligence start-up focused on developing highly accurate and flexible voice interfaces for the Internet-of-Things and beyond, today announced the April closing of a $1.8 million oversubscribed seed financing by an international group of investors which includes BDC Capital, Danhua Capital, top AI investors from the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), and experienced angel investors from the Maple Leaf Angels (MLA).
The Company is now graduating from Montreal incubator, 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.
“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’s 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.
Fluent.ai Inc. is a Canadian company with offices in Montreal and Ottawa offering OEMs and user interface designers a voice interface solution for their products and services. Fluent.ai’s patented approach 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. www.fluent.ai
About Danhua Capital (DHVC)
Danhua Capital (DHVC) is the leading cross-border venture firm in Silicon Valley with over half billion AUM across 3 different funds. With top-notch strategic LPs such as Alibaba, Baidu, Lenovo, JD.com and Sina, it aims to provide startup companies with a wide range of resources from both domestic and overseas markets that will unleash their potential for greater success on a global scale. www.danhuacap.com
About BDC Capital
With more than $2 billion under management, BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, serving as a strategic partner to Canada’s most innovative and high potential firms. It offers a range of equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs scale their businesses into global champions. www.bdc.ca/capital
The Creative Destruction Lab launched in 2012 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and employs a unique, objectives-focused coaching process to help founders build massively-scalable businesses predicated on advances in science and technology. www.creativedestructionlab.com
Established in 2007, Maple Leaf Angels (MLA) is a not-for-profit membership organization with a mandate is to connect accredited investors with the brightest, most passionate entrepreneurs in a streamlined process within the larger entrepreneurial eco-system. www.mapleleafangels.com
TandemLaunch is a seed investor and incubator focused on creating early-stage technology start-ups in collaboration with global universities and world-class entrepreneurs. www.tandemlaunch.com
Niraj Bhargava, CEO Fluent.ai
Photo courtesy of TandemLaunch