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Audioburst raises $10M to build AI-powered infotainment systems for cars, ad solutions

Audioburst, a startup that uses AI technology to extract the best bits from podcasts and talk radio to create brand-new listening experiences, has raised a more $10 million in strategic funding from Dentsu and Hyundai engine Company. The brand-new circular is focused on helping Audioburst further extend into advertising and in vehicles. It also precedes the company’s planned launch into Japan at the end of 2019.

Dentsu and Hyundai join Audioburst’s other strategic investors, Samsung Ventures, Nippon Broadcasting, and Advanced Media, Inc., and bring the company’s total elevate to date to $25 million.

The startup today ingests and indexes millions of audio segments per day, then uses AI technology — including Automatic Speech Recognition and Natural Language Understanding — to create products like a searchable library of audio, personalized audio feeds and news briefs, notifications and more.

Through an API, partners can integrate Audioburst’s personalized feeds into their own smart speakers, mobile, in-car infotainment systems and other products.

The investment from the global ad agency Dentsu, headquartered in Tokyo, will see the company working with Audioburst to create a mart for personalized audio in Japan. Brands will leverage the technology to target listeners with more personalized ads based on an improved understanding of customers’ interests.

“Personalized advertising in the radio space has been limited to-date. In addition, the emergence of voice-activated services and audio content have provided a rapidly growing advertising opportunity for our clients,” noted Hideki Ishibashi, managing director of Dentsu Innovation Initiative, in a statement.

Audioburst is not alone in working to create personalized listening experiences as a channel for advertising — Spotify, for instance, is doing this with song. And this year, it even opened up its flagship product, the personalized Discover Weekly playlist, to brand sponsorships. Pandora also lets advertisers personalize their messages by leveraging listener data. And as podcasts have become a brand-new priority for streaming services like this, ad personalization will follow as listeners stream more non-song audio.

Meanwhile, Audioburst will work with Hyundai — which contributed half ($5 million) of the $10 million investment — to develop a brand-new in-car infotainment system that includes a personalized audio search experience and playlists that customers can access via voice commands.

“At Hyundai, our quest is to have our cars connected by 2020 and provide our customers with the best viable in-car experience,” said Dr. Yun-seong Hwang, vice president of Hyundai engine Company. “Partnering and investing in Audioburst ensures we will govern the charge in a data-driven first class audio experience.”

Hyundai’s investment follows a december 2018 Audioburst partnership with LGE, which focused on construction brand-new infotainment systems for automakers. That deal was the first to use Audioburst’s Deep Analysis API, which adds a more stage of metadata categorization in order provide a more in-depth understanding of the content users searched for. The Hyundai deal will now leverage this API, as well.

Audioburst also has strategic partnerships with Bytedance, Bose, Harman and more.


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