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Summary:

London startup SpinVox raised $100 million today in a round of financing that values the company at $500 million. That’s big money for a company that translates voicemails into text, but SpinVox appears to have achieved some valuable intellectual property associated with its speech-to-text software. Currently […]

London startup SpinVox raised $100 million today in a round of financing that values the company at $500 million. That’s big money for a company that translates voicemails into text, but SpinVox appears to have achieved some valuable intellectual property associated with its speech-to-text software. Currently it can transcribe in French, Spanish, English and German; the funding will help it add Italian, Portuguese and Arabic to its repertoire.

The funding will also go toward expanding the infrastructure required to serve carriers who offer the service. About a dozen carriers currently offer voicemail-to-text through SpinVox, and company spokesman Jonathan Simnett says it will add a dozen more this year, including more in the U.S. The carriers currently offering the service have about 100 million subscribers between them. SpinVox has 6 million.

The whopping valuation makes a bit more sense if you consider that players ranging from Microsoft (it bought TellMe) to Nuance Communications (it’s bought a lot) are all trying to crack the speech-to-text market as a way to improve navigation and search on mobile phones. IBM and Google are also making plays in this area while startups including Jott, Yap and Vlingo have offerings as well.

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  1. Dont forget SimulScribe.., they are a vmail to text company. They sell to consumers as well as licensing to third parties to resell. They dont have the language depth that SpinVox does but their service is pretty good.

  2. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Thanks, Kalyzen.

  3. jamessiminoff Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Kaiyzen, thanks for adding us to the list. However I beg to differ on the language depth. We have been working on the voice recognition for a very long time and our efforts are run by Bill Scholz who is a very highly regarded person in this area. Spinvox is a great company and their second round which now totals their investments at $200 million really validates the potential size of this overall industry.

    Jamie

    James Siminoff, Founder
    SimulScribe

  4. MobHappy » Blog Archive » SpinVox and the $500 Million Thursday, March 20, 2008

    [...] GigaOm reports that the speech-to-text company, SpinVox, has raised a whopping (technical VC term) $100m, on a valuation of $500 million. [...]

  5. SpinVox recibe 100 millones de dólares de inversión Loogic.com Blog Archive Thursday, March 20, 2008

    [...] Visto en Gigaom. [...]

  6. Text to speech for voicemail is a great product and will be a feature with most voicemails soon. Once you use it you won’t go back.

    However, this is fundamentally just a voicemail feature. A $500M valuation is ludicrous from the standpoint that essentially all one needs to do is license any one of numerous comercially available voice recognition engines, hook up some servers to voicemail and voila you are done. There are countless start-ups doing this.

    Unless spinvox has incredible IP, which I can only imagine will be hard to defend if it’s around the concept, they’re worth $100M to a voicemail provider at best.

    If I am a wireless or wireline provider, I’ll just submit an RFP to my voicemail providers, who will gladly sell me this feature for a nominal additional monthly fee.

  7. Internet. » Blog Archive » SpinVox Nets $100M and a $500M Valuation Thursday, March 20, 2008

    [...] Link to the original site [...]

  8. jamessiminoff Thursday, March 20, 2008

    ol’ yeller,

    I wish that I lived in your simple world. However in the world of supplying text to speech things are not that easy. The major voicemail providers have not been able to roll this product and they have made attempts. The work that Spinvox, SimulScribe and Jott are doing in this field involves a lot of IP and complex operational issues.
    You will see over time that these services will be offered by many different providers but there will only be a handful of suppliers as the technical expertise and barriers to entry are very high.

    If anyone wants to try SimulScribe free for 30 days to see how the product works click on, https://apps.simulscribe.com/signup/r/13251.

    Jamie
    James Siminoff, Founder
    SimulScribe

  9. Just to add a little to Jamie’s post:

    I think Ol’yeller is partially correct: it’s never been easier to plug different telephony elements together. And it is true that there are many providers of ASR solutions. But there’s a big chasm between that, and actually delivering something in the speech to text space that’s seamless and deals with real usage scenarios with high quality. We’re all working very hard to do that, and I invite you to try Jott — which is free — and see how we’re doing.

    John

    John Pollard
    Founder and CEO
    Jott.com

  10. There is also a huge difference between the robustness of the various providers in this space. It is not simple. Ever actually used voice recognition? Think how good it would be over a mobile phone line….That is the challenge.

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