SoundHound Is Ready to Compete

June 22, 2018

What began as a music-identification tool is now a platform for building one’s own voice assistant application. Business Insider reports, “This 13-Year-Old Startup Just Got $100 Million and Is Valued at Over $1 Billion—Now It’s Taking on Amazon, Google, and Apple.” Writer Kif Leswing notes this recent funding round is led by Chinese firm Tencent, with other notable contributors like Hyundai, Daimler, and Europe’s Orange. We learn:

“SoundHound did not disclose its valuation following this round, but a person familiar with the company says it’s worth over $1 billion, making it a unicorn. It’s going to use those funds to go up against some of the biggest names in technology, including Apple, Amazon, and Google. SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer tells us that he’s not afraid of those 800-pound gorillas, though. ‘We said, don’t be afraid,’ said Mohajer. ‘I always tell my team members, think of your competitors are variables in a complex set of equations.’”

That’s one way to look at it. Mohajer figures his company has one important advantage over those huge players—a less obtrusive integration into clients’ businesses. By creating, and branding, their own voice assistants, companies retain more control over their image and keep customers focused on them throughout the user experience.

Leswing notes that much of SoundHound’s funding has come from strategic partners, as opposed to financial firms. This is because, he reports, Mohajer is gathering allies in his face-off against the likes of Amazon. Mohajer declares he had to turn investors away for this funding round, so there does seem to be abundant interest in Houndify. Should Alexa be worried?

Cynthia Murrell, June 22, 2018

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