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Deepgram launches $10M speech recognition startup program

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Deepgram, a startup developing voice recognition models for the enterprise, today announced the Deepgram Startup Program to provide select companies with custom-trained speech models. Alongside this news, Deepgram has added a range of features to its platform, including a revamped developer console, software development kits, and API documentation.

“The pandemic accelerated the need for digital experiences, and voice technology emerged as a must-have for companies looking to stay connected to both employees and customers,” CEO and cofounder Scott Stephenson told VentureBeat via email. “With the Deepgram Startup Program, we’re arming the next generation of startups and developers with the tools they need to excel in the speech space.”

Deepgram Startup Program

According to Stephensen, the Deepgram Startup Program is designed to help entrepreneurs and developers “harness the power of speech recognition quickly and easily at no cost.” As a part of the program, Deepgram will offer $10 million in free credits, with a specific focus on startups in education and employee experiences.

While it’s smaller in scale than, say, Amazon’s Alexa Accelerator, companies participating in the Deepgram Startup Program will not need to pay a fee or give up equity. Moreover, recipients will be able to use the funds in conjunction with any existing grant, seed, incubator, and accelerator benefits.

“We firmly believe that speech is the next programmable interface, and with these updates we’re excited to see the opportunities speech recognition will continue to create,” Stephenson continued.

New features

Among the capabilities Deepgram released to coincide with the launch of the Deepgram Startup Program, the highlight is an enhanced developer console. One of the key features is Missions, which provides users with a learning path for getting started with Deepgram. The console also aims to simplify usage and billing by offering promotional credits and automated re-enrollment, as well as account management.

As for the software development kits, they enable developers to transcribe both real-time streaming and prerecorded audio, leveraging libraries, documentation, code samples, and processes written for Python and Node.js.

The Deepgram Startup Program and new features come after Deepgram raised $25 million in capital from Tiger Global and other investors. The San Francisco, California-based Y Combinator graduate, which was founded in 2015 by Noah Shutty and Stephenson, claims to have processed more than 100 billion words to date for its over 60 customers.

Deepgram is far from the only player in a voice and speech recognition tech market anticipated to be worth $31.82 billion by 2025. Tech giants like Nuance, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offer real-time voice transcription and captioning services, as do startups like Otter. There’s also Verbit, which recently raised $31 million for its human-in-the-loop AI transcription tech; Oto Systems, which in December 2019 snagged $5.3 million to improve speech recognition with intonation data; and Voicera, which has raked in tens of millions for AI that draws insights from meeting notes.

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