Cambridge Innovation Capital has led a £3.1 million seed funding round into AudioTelligence.

The Cambridge-based builder of technology and healthcare companies has invested in a firm which delivers real-time audio processing technology for the enhancement of Automatic Speech Recognition systems.

Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, and two Cambridge-based business angels also participated.

Speech control is being used increasingly in consumer electronics, with smart speakers being the world's fastest-growing consumer technology segment in the first quarter of 2018 driven by Amazon's Echo, Google's Home and several recent entrants such as Xiaomi.

AudioTelligence's technology dramatically enhances the accuracy of ASR systems, such as those used in mobile devices, home assistants and voice-activated, hands-free automotive systems.

It processes the output from low-cost uncalibrated microphones and delivers significant improvements in separating a speaker's voice from background noise and other conversations. AudioTelligence's technology also addresses other applications, such as the hearing assistance market.

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Andrew Williamson, investment director at CIC: said: "AudioTelligence's source separation technologies have been built on world-leading research to provide a data-driven solution to the 'cocktail party' problem of isolating speech from a mix of other sounds.

“These technologies significantly outperform existing 'state-of-the art' commercially available solutions and have the potential to improve materially the real-world performance of a whole host of voice activated electronic devices."

Ken Roberts, CEO of AudioTelligence, said: "This investment will enable us to build out our team to commercialise our source separation technologies.

“We are delighted with the support our investors are providing and look forward to working with them as we grow AudioTelligence."

The company is a spin-out from Cambridge-based CEDAR Audio Limited, a world leader in audio restoration, dialogue noise suppression and speech enhancement for the entertainment and audio forensic sectors.

Elaine Loukes, investment manager at Cambridge Enterprise, commented: "AudioTelligence is a spin-out from CEDAR Audio, which is the oldest company in our portfolio.

“It's a real pleasure to be working with a new company that we know to have an excellent pedigree."