Snips – the global Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup behind the world’s first Private-by-Design voice platform for connected devices – today announced the official launch of its Voice Platform, with over 1,000 platform users already signed up, as well as its latest round of funding – $13M from key investors in their Series A, totaling $21M in the last two years. Founded in 2013 as an AI research lab, Snips’ mission to “make technology disappear” led to the creation of the Snips Voice Platform for connected devices. Built with proprietary AI technology, the platform runs on-device, independent from the cloud, making it the first Private-by-Design voice solution on the market. Additionally, Snips’ deep-learning based models are optimized for performance and efficiency and can run on devices as simple as a Raspberry Pi3.
“Since 2013 we’ve been working toward putting an AI in every device so we can make technology disappear,” shared Dr. Rand Hindi, Snips CEO. “Today we are launching the first Private-by-Design voice platform that will allow all connected device makers to put voice interaction into their products, while truly protecting user privacy.”
Shared in the 2017 Voice Report, there will be approximately 2.5 billion voice-enabled devices in mass market by 2021. With voice becoming the most sought after medium for connected device, Snips has solved the problem of how humans and machines communicate with each other, without compromising privacy. With ability to scale the number of languages the platform understand thanks to a unique combination of machine learning, crowdsourcing and automated translation, Snips can:
Generate large amounts of human-like data will keeping privacy foward.
Communicate via five languages at launch: English, French, Spanish, Korean and German
Snips Natural Language Understanding achieves a 93% F1-score2 (a measure of precision and robustness), whereas Facebook’s Wit.ai scored 73%, Google’s API.ai received a 71% and Microsoft Luis just 69%.
With over 1,000 registered users on the platform, Snips is working with notable hardware partners including Lemon California to incorporate offline voice commands into Lemon’s solar powered, waterproof, wireless speakers. Snips is also working with top-tier tech communities such as Startup Weekend AI to share Snips’ extensive AI experience and thought leadership.
“Lemon is extremely excited to partner with Snips and utilize their private-by-design voice platform,” said Vincent Dupontreué, Lemon California, CEO. “Our incredible teams are working together to power the new generation voice interaction without relying on the internet or the cloud.“
“Global Startup Weekend AI (SWAI) is extremely proud to have Snips as a partner,” shared Laura Calmore – Startup Weekend Community Leader. “As one of the hottest startups coming out of France, Snips has supported SWAI Paris from day one. Snips opens the gate of opportunities for us and the whole SW ecosystem to better share experience, educate and grow a global community together with AI and privacy as the focus.”
How it works:
On-device Automated Speech Recognition (ASR): Speech recognition is when a machine transcribes speech into text. Users can speak to their devices, asking a “query” that will be turned into text and then interpreted by the AI assistant..
On-device Natural Language Understanding (NLU): The machine’s ability to understand a user’s query, and turn it into a machine-readable format. This is then used to perform a given action associated with the user query or speak back to the user. It comes after having performed ASR.
Over the last 24 months, Snips has raised over $21M from prominent investors and government grants, including the latest $13M Series A led by Korelya Capital and MAIF Avenir, with BPI France and previous investor Eniac Ventures joining the round.
“At Eniac, we also believe that interactions between people and machines should be seamless, with voice technology as the primary driver to achieve that,” said Hadley Harris, founding general partner at Eniac Ventures. “Snips brings users the highest quality AI voice-platform, while protecting privacy and ensuring that conversations with devices not only feel natural, but are more secure than any other solution on the market.”
“MAIF’s investment in Snips was based on two strong convictions: AI will play a key role for insurance in the years to come, and Snips has the technical talent and expertise to tackle the upcoming challenges,” said Nicolas Siegler, Deputy General Director, MAIF. “Additionally, MAIF advocates for the use of AI that is respectful of personal data, which is why Snips’ construction of a platform that exclusively offers ‘privacy by design’ is so important to us and our customers.”
Snips Voice Platform Features:
On-Device and Private-by-Design: Snips is the first AI voice platform that runs 100% on-device, independently from the cloud. This means the user data is processed safely on the device itself, guaranteeing privacy and offline capabilities. Additionally, the Snips Voice Platform is the only solution currently compliant with Europe’s GDPR regulation, due to take effect in 2018.
End-to-End On-Device Voice Engine: The Snips Voice Platform offers both Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU), as well as Hotword detection and Dialog management. The platform leverages cutting-edge deep learning, with both the ASR and NLU running on device. Snips’ ASR can handle English and French, while the NLU can handle English, French, Spanish, German and Korean.
DIY Web Console: Makers and teams looking to quickly prototype a Voice assistant can use Snips’ DIY Web Console to easily create a new assistant, for free. The console includes the ability to combine pre-built capabilities available via a marketplace with custom ones created by the developer. The voice assistant can then be deployed to a Raspberry Pi, Linux or Android device, with more platforms coming soon.
No variable costs: Contrary to cloud providers that charge per query, Snips charges a one-time fee per device for unlimited queries, making the voice assistant a component rather than a service. The fee only applies to commercial products, prototypes built using the console being completely free.
About Snips: Snips is a global AI startup offering a Voice Platform for connected devices. Founded in 2013 as by three PhDs, Snips started as an AI research lab focused on building new interfaces between people and machines that also protect Privacy. Snips’ mission is to put an AI assistant in every device, making them so intuitive that they disappear into the background. Since becoming a startup in 2015, Snips has raised $21M including a recent Series A investment of $13M. For more information, visit the official site at https://snips.ai/.