Deepgram – Speech Recognition for Enterprises Raises $12M in Series A

deepgram

Deepgram, a speech recognition company offering enterprises to build analytical insights from their audio data with highest accuracy and affordability has raised $12M in Series A round. The funding round was led by Wing Venture Capital with help from Y Combinator, Nvidia GPU Ventures and SAP.io.

Deepgram went through seed round in early 2016 and also had a venture round from September 2016 till March 2018 as per CrunchBase Financials data. Overall, the total funding amount raised so far is $13.9M.

Deepgram’s product also called Deepgram MissionControl works in three steps. In first step (DataFactory module), it allows enterprises to prepare their data by uploading and labeling it. In 2nd step (ModelForge module), it allows customers to build and train custom models and in the final step, enterprises can transcribe their bulk audio data using their custom models. Deepgram claims to offer more features than Google, Amazon, Nuance and IBM. Make sure to give them a try.

What’s the money for? Adding staff, among other things. Deepgram has about 40 people today, but declined to tell TechCrunch how quickly it will scale personnel (oddly, as that’s a pretty standard question), saying instead that it’s hiring aggressively, with a focus on go-to-market and engineering. The firm also intends to use some of its Series A on hardware.

TechCrunch spoke with Deepgram CEO Scott Stephenson about his company’s product during our call about the round itself. Summarizing our chat, here’s what we found out. Instead of trying to improve existing tech — which doesn’t sport strong gross margins, the CEO said — Deepgram started from scratch, building a deep learning tool that, after a few years’ work, was a step ahead of other speech recognition technologies in terms of accuracy.

Its investors agree. In a call with TechCrunch, Nvidia’s Jeff Herbst, who took part in the investment, said that Deepgram was “one of the best, if not the best” speech recognition companies around. Deepgram provides its services in two ways, hosted on its own hardware (the firm claims better margins by running its own metal, and, you now know why Nvidia is involved) and on-prem on client hardware. The startup is targeting enterprise call centers and voice platforms as customers.

Please read full story at TechCrunch.

Proxy – Touchless Door Unlocker & Device Access Platform Raises $42M in Series B

Proxy, a smartphone-based digital identity platform that interacts with devices through BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) signals without touching them has raised $42M in Series B round led by Scale Venture Partners in participation with Kleiner Perkins, Y Combinator, Silicon Valley Bank and a venture studio, West. Last year, Proxy raised $13.6M in Series A and with the latest Series B funding, their total raised amount has reached $58.8M.

Proxy provides mobile access hardware devices (Mobile Reader Pro, Edge & Nano) for different environments, a secure cloud service that interacts with your existing control systems, a dashboard to manage access of your workplaces & users and most importantly an API and SDK to integrate Proxy with any device and create unlimited possibilities for businesses.

The raise brings Proxy to $58.8 million in funding so it can staff up at offices across the world and speed up deployments of its door sensor hardware and access control software. “We’re spread thin” says Mars. “Part of this funding is to try to grow up as quickly as possible and not grow for growth sake. We’re making sure we’re secure, meeting all the privacy requirements.”

How does Proxy work? Employers get their staff to install an app that knows their identity within the company, including when and where they’re allowed entry. Buildings install Proxy’s signal readers, which can either integrate with existing access control software or the startup’s own management dashboard.

Employees can then open doors, elevators, turnstiles, and garages with a Bluetooth low-energy signal without having to even take their phone out. Bosses can also opt to require a facial scan or fingerprint or a wave of the phone near the sensor. Existing keycards and fobs still work with Proxy’s Pro readers. Proxy costs about $300 to $350 per reader, plus installation and a $30 per month per reader subscription to its management software.

Luckily, Proxy has found a powerful growth flywheel. First an office in a big building gets set up, then they convince the real estate manager to equip the lobby’s turnstiles and elevators with Proxy. Other tenants in the building start to use it, so they buy Proxy for their office. Then they get their offices in other cities on board…starting the flywheel again. That’s why Proxy is doubling down on sales to commercial real estate owners.

Please read full story at TechCrunch.