Home » Tech » Sonantic gets € 2.3 million in funding to bring “human quality” artificial voices to games: TechCrunch

Sonantic gets € 2.3 million in funding to bring “human quality” artificial voices to games: TechCrunch

Sonantic, a UK startup that developed “human quality” artificial voice technology for the gaming and entertainment industry, raised € 2.3 million in funding.

Leading the round is EQT Ventures, with the participation of existing supporters, including Entrepreneur First (EF), AME Cloud Ventures and Bart Swanson of Horizons Ventures. I also understand that one of the company’s first investors is Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.

Founded in 2018 by CEO Zeena Qureshi and CTO John Flynn while following the EF company building program in London, Sonantic (formerly Speak Ai) says he wants to upset the global game and voice entertainment industry. The startup has developed artificial voice technology which claims to be able to offer “expressive and realistic voice acting” on demand for use by gaming studios. It has already started research and development partnerships with over 10 AAA game studios.

“Bringing dialogue into game development is a slow, expensive and labor-intensive task,” says Qureshi, when asked to define the problem Sonantic wants to solve. “The dialogue pipelines consist of casting, booking studies, contracts, programming, editing, directing and a lot of coordination. Voice narrative video games can take up to 10 years to frequently change game design, so that default game developers perform several iteration cycles, often leading to budget delays and late game versions. “

To help remedy this, Sonantic offers what Qureshi calls “dynamic voice acting on demand”, with the ability to create the exact type of character in terms of gender, personality, accent, tone and emotional state. The startup’s human-quality speech synthesis system is offered through an API and a graphical user interface tool that allows its synthetic voice actors to be edited, sculpted and directed “just like a human actor,” he says.

This sees Sonantic work directly with the actors to synthesize their voices while taking advantage of their unique execution skills. “We are therefore increasing the way actors work by offering them a digital version of themselves that can create passive revenue for them,” explains CEO Sonantic.

For game studios, Sonantic offers faster iteration cycles at a cheaper price because it reduces logistics costs and has ready-to-run voice models. Its SaaS model and API also make it easier to create audio performances to test potential narrations or perfect a story, helping with editing and directing.

Meanwhile, Sonantic says he is preparing to publicly reveal how his technology can capture “deep emotions across the spectrum”, from the subtle to the exaggerated, which he says is usually something that only very skilled actors can achieve.

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