The first thing we ask Voicemod‘s CEO and co-founder, Jamie Bosch, when he picks up the phone to talk about a new funding round is not something we’re accustomed to asking — but our question may become the norm in the generative AI future that’s fast-flying at us: Is this your real voice?
Bosch’s startup has been fiddling with audio effects for almost a decade, playing in the field of digital signal processing (DSP) — where its early focus was on creating fun ‘sound emoji’ effects and reactions for gamers to spice up their voice chats. And gamers do remain its main user-base (for now). But the audio field is being charged by developments in AI — which Voicemod’s team is hoping will lead to whole new use-cases and many more users for its tools.
So where DSP technology was about applying effects to a person’s (real) voice, developments in artificial intelligence are enabling startups like Voicemod to offer tools to create entirely synthesized (unreal) voices. And even the ability for users to ‘wear’ these voices in real-time — so they can speak with a voice that isn’t theirs. Think of it as the audio equivalent of a Snapchat lens or TikTok’s viral teenage filter or Reface’s celebrity face-swaps.
Voicemod is positioning itself to ride this wave by building a toolbox for creators to survive and thrive in a reality-bending future and across a range of use-cases — hence it’s talking in terms of sonic identity and voice avatars for the social metaverse (at the future-gaze-y end) but also just helping you sound your sparkling best on a work Zoom call. So a sort of audio make-up as it were. Apply as needed.
“Now suddenly everyone can become a creator,” predicts Bosch of the generative AI boon. “Everyone can come, basically, with no skill set. Or with no learnings on how to really craft those audios. They will be able to actually create those pieces of music. Songs. And this eventually evolves into into — probably — even voices. So the ability to create voices.”
Voicemod is gearing up for whatever phonic crazyiness lies ahead with a fresh tranche of funding. The 2014-founded startup has been revenue generating for years, via pro versions of its tools — its main product, Voicemod for Desktop, has had more than 40 million downloads to-date, while Bosch says it has 3.3 million monthly active users — but it’s just closed $14.5 million in expansion funding, following an $8M Series A back in summer 2020.
Madrid-based Kfund’s growth fund Leadwind, led the round, with participation from Minifund (Eros Resmini former CMO at Discord) and Bitkraft Ventures.
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