AI-generated speech startup ElevenLabs raises $80M in fresh funding


ElevenLabs, the developer of a synthetic voice platform used by more than 40% of the Fortune 500, today announced that it has raised $80 million from a group of prominent investors.

The Series B raise was led by Andreessen Horowitz, former GitHub Chief Executive Nat Friedman and startup investor Daniel Gross. ElevenLabs says Sequoia Capital and several other institutional backers participated as well. The investment brings the company’s total outside funding to more than $100 million.

“This new funding enables us to take on even bigger challenges and focus on maintaining our competitive edge in research and product development,” said ElevenLabs Chief Technology Officer Piotr Dąbkowski.

ElevenLabs, officially Eleven Labs Inc., provides a cloud platform that uses artificial intelligence to generate synthetic speech. Users have access to a library of more than 1,000 voices that are organized into categories such as “expressive,” confident” and “narrator.” Customers use its platform for tasks such as creating audiobooks and narrating films.

For companies that require more customization, Eleven Labs offers a so-called voice cloning feature. The feature makes it possible to upload a short speech sample and have the platform mimic the speaker. It can generate a basic voice clone based on a one-minute recording, while a professional-grade replica requires 30 minutes.

Voice clones are not limited to the language of the recording from which they are generated. According to Eleven Labs, its platform supports more than two dozen languages and a significantly higher number of accents. Besides adapting a voice clone to speak in a new language, the company’s platform can also translate an existing speech recording while preserving the original speaking style.

Users may adjust an AI-generated voice if necessary. A point-and-click customization panel makes it possible to change properties such as speaking style variability and clarity.

ElevenLabs detailed today that users, who include employees at 41% of the Fortune 500, have created more than 100 years of audio since its platform launched in 2022.

To support the continued growth of its installed base, ElevenLabs introduced three new features in conjunction with today’s funding announcement. The first addition will enable users to turn text into audio on their smartphones. Another new capability promises to ease the task of dubbing movies.

Rounding out the update is a marketplace that allows users to create voice clones and license them to other customers. Participating users will have to verify that the uploaded voice samples belong to them by reading a text prompt within a specific timeframe. For added measure, the company plans to implement manual moderation workflows.

ElevenLabs will use its latest funding round to enhance its platform with support for more languages and other new features, and add more guardrails to prevent misuse. The company will reportedly more than double its headcount to 100 employees by year’s end to support the development effort. 

Photo: Unsplash

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