Singapore-based AI Communis, the startup behind the platform integrating speech recognition and natural language processing technologies, announced on Monday that it has raised $1.3 million US in a seed round. Participating investors include UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC), DG Incubation, The Seed in addition to several unnamed angel investors. This follows their extended angel round back in April when The Seed previously invested in the company. The latest round brought their funding sum up to $2.1 million US.
AI Communis was founded in April of 2020 by Nobuhiko Suzuki, who has been dealing with the business of translating, adding subtitles, and editing video clips. These multilingulization processes, especially needed for global marketing, had been handled manually for a long time, but the significantly improved accuracy of automation tools such as Amazon Transcribe, DeepL, Google Translate has recently made it possible to be mostly automated.
The company launched a web app called Auris last year, which allows users to handle a series of tasks such as translation, subtitling, and video editing in a cloud environment. It currently supports 16 languages spoken across the Asian region, and has 87,000 users from 110 countries as of this month. Leveraging the app, the company launched a new business where crowdsourced gig workers help influencers and company marketers turn their video clips into any of these different languages.
With the academic guidance from speech synthesis researcher Dr. Shinnosuke Takamichi, the company started a new development this summer to add an interpreted voice-over function to the platform. Dr. Takamichi is Assistant Professor at Saruwatari & Koayama lab., Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo. If the implemntation comes true, this will enable interpreted voice dubbing as well as translation subtitling, which is expected to further expand its applications. It is unclear whether the phonemes of the dubbed synthetic voice will be based on on the original speaker’s audio.
AI Communis will use the funds to improve transcription and video editing functions for YouTubers and marketing video creators in aim to offer an easy localization experience when transmitting content in their non-native languages. The company aims to implement the voice-over function by next spring. Going forward, the company plans to expand its business in the markets having many heavy Auris users among Japan and Southeast Asian countries.