Beyond Verbal Gets A $2.8M Seed Round To Develop Voice Recognition That Decodes Emotions
With the introduction of Siri on the iPhone 4S in 2011, voice recognition, not exactly a new innovation, suddenly took center stage with consumers. But before that, and especially since then, there has been a rush of developments to meet the demand for ever better, more responsive technology across smartphones, tablets, computers, phone services and whatever else will come next.
Beyond Verbal, a startup based out of Israel, claims that it has developed a way to take computer-based voice recognition one step further, by creating software that is able to detect not just the words, but the emotional nuances of a voice to decipher how a person speaking is feeling. Recently, it announced its first round of funding, $2.8 million led by the newly-launched Genesis Angels, to roll out its patented technology commercially.
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As part of the investment, Kenges Rakishev, investor and co-founder of Genesis Angels, is joining the board.
Beyond Verbal offers its technology as a API-style cloud-based licensed service that can be integrated into bigger projects: the sky’s the limit for what these services might be, but you can imagine emotion detection used in all kinds of scenarios, from customer services to games, dating services (maybe to help people figure out if someone is really interested in them) and, yes, personal assistants like Siri.
Interestingly, while we tend to think of voice recognition as a customer-focused service, one potential application can actually be to help customer services representatives improve their own performance. “We can even tell if an agent is losing his temper. We can tell if you are losing your ‘sales perfect’ intonation,” said CEO Yuval Mor in an interview. Indeed, the premise of Beyond Verbal’s service is that a lot of the voice recognition services on the market today only give part of the story:“It’s not just what people say but how they say it,” he says.
Beyond Verbal also provides analytics and diagnostics that help customers track different emotions picked up through their applications. Beyond Verbal has yet to announce any customers, although the first is likely to come in the next few weeks, according to CEO Yuval Mor.