AI Startup Roundup: AI Voices That Sound Almost Human

Also, funding raises for a British mobile payments platform and health care virtual agents. Dropbox launches an AI venture fund.

Deborah Yao, Editor

June 26, 2023

3 Min Read
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio speaking in the voice of Apple co-founder Steve JobsElevenLabs

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Funding News


ElevenLabs is an audio AI software startup based in New York. Its software turns text to speech whether synthetic, cloned or entirely new artificial voices tailored to gender, age and accents. It claims to generate speech at a quality that is nearly indistinguishable from humans with less than a second of latency.

ElevenLabs has “substantially improved upon existing TTS (text-to-speech) models while making the technology significantly more accessible,” according to lead investor Andreesen Horowitz in a blog post. Its technology is able to generate voices that “sound incredibly human, with proper pause, intonation and breathing rhythms.”

Latest funding: $19 million, series A

Lead investors: Former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, investor Daniel Gross and Andreessen Horowitz, which is taking a seat on the board.

Notable angel investors: Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe, Ubiquity6 co-founder Anjney Midha, DeepMind and Inflection co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, Runway co-founder Siqi Chen, Inkitt co-founder Ali Albazaz, Reface co-founder Dima Shvets, Perplexity AI co-founder Aravind Srinivas, Vercel founder Guillermo Rauch, O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly.

Other investors: Credo Ventures, Concept Ventures, Creator Ventures, SV Angel, Embark Studios, Storytel and TheSoul Publishing

Funding plans: Continue building out its research hub for voice AI and launch products for the publishing, gaming and entertainment.


Volt is a London-based real-time payments platform for merchants.

Latest funding: $60 million, series B

Lead investor: IVP, which previously backed Coinbase, Slack and Supercell

Other investors: CommerzVentures, EQT Ventures, Augmentum Fintech Plc and Fuel Ventures

Funding plans: For expansion into international markets such as APAC and the Americas and support product development in Europe, the U.K. and Brazil. It plans to enter the Australian market later this year.

The startup also plans to build out its network globally, add cash management to its product and hire for its product and engineering teams.


Outbound AI is a Seattle, Washington-based provider of conversational AI virtual agents and software consoles for the health care sector. The company said its agents work four to five times faster than humans and come at a fraction of the cost. Also, Outbound AI said its out-of-the-box solution can be implemented quickly without disrupting existing workflows.

Latest funding: $16 million, seed

Lead investors: Madrona Venture Group and SpringRock Ventures

Other investors: Epic Ventures, Ascend, Pack Ventures, Locke Capital, Tacoma Venture Fund and KCRise Fund

Other news

Dropbox has launched a $50 million venture fund to invest in early stage AI startups. Called Dropbox Ventures, the fund is focused on startups that are building the next generation of AI-powered apps and tools.

The fund said it is more than just a funding program; it’s also a strategic partnership.

“We’ll work closely with our portfolio companies, providing mentorship and potential exposure to over 700 million registered Dropbox users who can benefit from their product,” according to the company.

About the Author(s)

Deborah Yao


Deborah Yao runs the day-to-day operations of AI Business. She is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, Wharton School and Associated Press.

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