Using speech patterns to create emotional analytics for marketing research companies and call centers, the Israeli startup has major implications for science
Emotion analytics startup Beyond Verbal has raised $3 million as part of a Series A funding round, the company announced Thursday morning. The investment was led by the Kuang-Chi Group and comes out of the group’s recently launched $300 million fund for Chinese investment in Israeli companies. Tech funds Winnovation and Singulariteam also participated in the round.
Beyond Verbal claims to be one of the only companies in the world giving literal emotional feedback in terms of analytics. By analyzing voice patterns, the company has been able to market its knowledge as a service to marketers and sellers. Their API can be integrated into a number of apps and devices. Service centers measure customer satisfaction, keep track of lonely family members, and for the dating world, match people by attitudes and moods.
“Emotions are in everything we do. So for us as a company it was very hard to focus on the right verticals, which is one of the reasons we’ve made a platform where [clients] can integrate the API into their solutions,” Beyond Verbal Chief Marketing Officer Bianca Meger told Geektime.
The new funding will go toward recent and future research projects in the health and wellness space, which is grabbing more of the company’s attention.
“Our main focus now is in mobile health and we plan to go recruit additional data scientists and add new emotional features,” Meger added. Their current features include an attitude score that gauge’s someone’s excitability, positivity, temperament and a range of other emotions like joy and aggressiveness.
Overall, they index 430 extremely precise emotions through their API, but services are different depending on the industry. While one breed of client, like call centers, will measure customer positivity during a call, market research groups will look at groupings of emotions for macro views of the population instead of the massive haul of 430 emotions.
The big shift for the company began when researchers couldn’t extract conclusions from distortions in people’s speaking patterns. When a number of samples of distorted speech turned out to be complications from dyslexia: While more famous for making reading difficult, it can actually cause people to have trouble finding the right words when they talk. That led the company to research more distinct speech distortions as indicators of diseases or conditions. In one study, they have teamed up with the Mayo Clinic to research voice patterns as a potential biomarker for coronary artery disease (CAD).
“The company’s technology is both innovative and highly advanced, with limitless potential,” said Kuang-Chi Chairman Dr. Ruopeng Liu in a press release. “This new partnership is bound to result in the development of new and exciting technologies with benefits in a variety of fields from healthcare to artificial intelligence.”
CEO and Board member Yuval Mor, VP of R&D Pavel Smirnov, Chief Science Officer Dr. Yoram Levanon, VP Products Daniel Gershuni, VP mHealth Noa Silberklang, and Director of Marketing and Strategic accounts Bianca Meger founded the Tel Aviv-based company in 2012. They currently have 21 employees and have raised a total of $10.1 million in financing to date.