The startup ElevenLabs, which uses artificial intelligence software to replicate voices in more than 20 languages, has conducted a new round of funding.
Currently, the mentioned company is valued at more than $1 billion. On Monday, January 22, the startup announced that it had managed to raise investment funds for $80 million in a financing round led by the Andreessen Horowitz venture fund with the participation of Sequoia Capital, Smash Capital, and SV Angel. Over the entire period of its existence, the company raised $101 million.
The chief executive officer of ElevenLabs, Mati Staniszewski, said that after receiving new funding, the startup is estimated at $1.1 billion.
Currently, technology investors are actively interacting with companies that specialize in creating artificial intelligence tools that generate the most realistic audio materials and videos. In this case, it means cooperation with similar firms by providing financing. The specified artificial intelligence tools are of interest to investors in terms of the prospects for its use for business development in the sphere of advertising and media. At the same time, such decisions raise concerns from researchers who claim the potential danger of deepfake technology. In the context of these concerns, special attention is paid to the generation of content to commit fraudulent actions and political manipulation. The risks of using artificial intelligence tools in an illegal direction are especially relevant in the run-up to the United States presidential election.
In early 2023, ElevenLabs announced that there had been cases of its technology being used for illegal purposes. In the context of discussing this issue, Mati Staniszewski stated that audio materials generated using AI and posing as humans are prohibited and will be removed. He said that in the startup, which employs 40 people, five specialists are engaged in moderation and formulation of corporate policy. Also, Mati Staniszewski said that the company intends to hire more workers to perform the specified activity. According to him, 99% of startup technology use cases relate to the positive sphere.
Mati Staniszewski said that the company, using the new financing, intends to go beyond the early application of its developments in audiobooks and video games. The startup plans to engage in media production, including dubbing films or creating full-fledged actors using artificial intelligence.
The widespread use of AI in the entertainment sector has become one of the reasons for the strikes in Hollywood. The proliferation of AI-generated audio materials has led to concerns that actors’ voices may be used without permission and payment.
Mati Staniszewski stated his intention to cooperate with the entertainment sector.
ElevenLabs has developed a new service that provides users with the opportunity to create a version of their voice using artificial intelligence, upload this material to a digital library, and earn income from applying AI-generated content. Mati Staniszewski stated that the startup is currently striving to create a strategy for implementing this technology safely and jointly with the industry.
ElevenLabs has held talks with major talent recruitment agencies and the sphere entertainment unions. This was announced by Mati Staniszewski, without going into details. He also said that the startup is currently working on features for automatically adjusting emotions and intonations of audio with artificial intelligence. According to him, there are no such decisions yet. Separately, he noted that the company conducts a lot of relevant research.
As we have reported earlier, Neuralink Raises $43 Million.