Artificial speech startup Murf gives voice to content creators of all sizes • TechCrunch

Artificial speech technology startup Murf gives voice to content creators of all sizes. Murf, which now has a library of over 120 human-like AI voices in 20 languages, announced today that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners. The participation came from returning investors Elevation Capital and prominent angel investors like Ola founder Ankit Bhai. SVP of Disney Stream; Ashwini Asokan, founder of Mad Street Dap; and Pushkar Mukewar, founder of Drip Capital

In the year Founded in October 2020 by IIT-Kharagpur schoolmates Sneha Roy, Ankur Edkie and Divyanshu Pandey, Murph’s previous funding announcement was a $1.5 million seed round led by Elevation Capital and angel investors, which helped them hire talent, invest in product innovation and user acquisition. Murf says that since the seed round, he’s grown by ARR 26X and has worked on more than a million audio projects with a variety of accents and tones.

Some examples of how Murf technology has been used include a tech entrepreneur and artist creating an entire movie using AI art models, deep pseudo-programs and AI Voices from Murf Studio, an entertainment animation agency that created a TV series using a collection of Murf voices; Authors create fantasy fiction audiobooks with Murf’s AI voices; and a YouTube influencer who used Murph’s AI voice to create a rap video.

Founders of Murf

Murph CEO Edki told TechCrunch that although the Murph founding team has previously worked in a variety of fields, they all delve into the pain points of creating high-quality voiceovers. This includes creating and updating product displays and recording radio and video commercials. He added that the pandemic “provided a boost to multimedia innovation and demand for scalable audio content was growing rapidly.”

Murph’s clients have used it in a variety of ways, including advertising, audiobooks, explainer videos, and e-learning., its SaaS platform, is designed to make it easy for customers to create high-quality natural audio for any business purpose. The company’s clients range in size from individual content creators to SMBS and enterprises and operate in sectors such as education, corporate, healthcare, media and entertainment, marketing, advertising, podcasting, customer support and more.

Edki told TechCrunch that content creators and marketing teams often record audio jams themselves, or outsource the entire process, both of which are “cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming.” Murf, on the other hand, allows users to generate “human-like” voiceovers without having to purchase recording equipment or hire a voice artist.

The company wants to remove restrictions on what text-to-speech can do. “While TTS has been around for quite a while now, limitations in audio quality have limited its use. Using the latest advances in AI and deep learning, we are enabling the creation of high-fidelity synthetic voices that mimic the natural pronunciation and pronunciation of human speech.

Murf’s platform includes an AI-enabled SaaS tool that allows users to generate “human-like” voices, typically used in videos or presentations, without purchasing complex and costly equipment or hiring a voice artist. Content creators can use an online voice recording booth to showcase a wide range of speech styles. Murf seeks to bridge the diversity of traditional writing into discourse by including voices in accents such as African American, British, Australian, and others.

According to market reports used by the founders of Murf, the global text-to-speech market is expected to reach $7.06 billion by 2028, growing at a 14.6% CAG. Meanwhile, the voicemail and mail markets are predicted to generate a total of $8 billion annually by 2027.

Text-to-speech has been around for years, but quality limitations mean it’s mainly been used by voice assistants and chatbots. But recent advances in AI and deep learning now mean it’s possible to create artificial voices with human speech patterns and pronunciation. Murf’s AI engine has been trained on hours of authentic human speech, and Murf Studios offers over 120 human-distinct AI voices speaking in 20 languages. Murf is working with voice actors to bring in more diverse accents, including foreign voices such as African American, British, and Australian English.

Murf’s AI-powered text-to-business can also learn from contextual information to return accurate responses. The founders describe Murf as an “all-in-one audio solution” that allows users to add images, videos and background music. It also has pronunciation features using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), audio customization for users’ voice, pauses, focus and speed.

Murf monetizes its services through a subscription plan. It came out of beta testing in January 2021, and in the last 18 months, it has grown by 22x in ARR and has accumulated more than one million audio compression projects to date.

Edke said Murph’s main competitors are large technology and cloud companies such as Google, Amazon, Polly and Microsoft, which have already put text-to-speech platforms on the market. Murf distinguishes itself with natural sounding AI voices that support different accents and styles.

“Going from a simple text to a speech tool, our platform gives users the ability to create engaging content that includes images, videos, presentations, and add audio, background music, and overall syncing,” Edke said. Murf’s AI-powered TTS can learn from a wealth of contextual information to create contextual speech. For example, it has built-in context awareness that recognizes commonly used entity formats such as numbers, currencies, percentages, addresses, dates and times, reducing their randomness and aligning them to a predefined standard, Edki added.

In a prepared statement, Mukul Arora, associate managing partner of Elevation Capital, said, “AI-driven, lifelike voice amplifiers are the next frontier in the text-to-speech market. Murf, with its stellar founding team and unique IP, is perfectly poised to take a leadership position in this space. Their execution prowess and technology-first focus is evident in their strong traction and growth to date. We are excited to double down on our partnership with Murf.

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