ElevenLabs, a groundbreaking platform utilizing AI to create synthetic voices, has successfully completed a Series A funding round, raising $19 million. The round was co-led by entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross, along with Andreessen Horowitz. Notable participants include Creator Ventures, SV Angel, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, Deepmind and Inflection AI co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, and O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly. With this funding, ElevenLabs aims to further develop its cutting-edge research hub for voice AI and introduce a range of new products tailored to specific market verticals such as publishing, gaming, entertainment, and conversational applications.
According to co-founder and CEO Mati Staniszewski, the recent investment will fuel the expansion of ElevenLabs’ research capabilities and facilitate the development of innovative solutions to meet the diverse needs of its target industries. The startup plans to leverage the funds to enhance its synthetic voice technology and introduce specialized products that cater to various market verticals. Staniszewski explained, “We will continue to build our cutting-edge research hub for voice AI and launch a range of additional products to support specific market verticals such as publishing, gaming, entertainment, and conversational applications.”
Founded by Staniszewski, a former Palantir employee, and Piotr Dabkowski, a former Google employee, ElevenLabs was inspired by the founders’ dissatisfaction with the quality of American movie dubbing during their upbringing in Poland. Leveraging the power of AI, the platform can transform text into speech using synthetic voices, cloned voices, or entirely novel “artificial” voices that accurately mimic people of different genders, ages, and ethnicities. The AI text-to-speech models developed by ElevenLabs are language-agnostic, empowering corporate clients to customize and create their own proprietary speech models.
Simultaneously with the Series A funding, ElevenLabs is introducing Projects, a comprehensive workflow tool that enables users to edit and create long-form spoken content within the platform itself. With Projects, users can effortlessly generate dialogue segments and even produce audiobooks, streamlining the content creation process without the need to switch between multiple tools or platforms.
Beyond its potential applications in audiobook creation and gaming, ElevenLabs envisions its technology being used for voicing digital articles, assisting visually impaired individuals in accessing online written content, and empowering AI-driven radio experiences. Staniszewski emphasized that their technology offers numerous possibilities for business-to-business partners in a wide range of industries.
While ElevenLabs gained rapid recognition for the exceptional quality and speed of its generated voices, the platform also faced challenges when bad actors exploited its capabilities for harmful purposes. To address these concerns, the company plans to implement several safeguards. These include restricting voice cloning to paid accounts, taking action against users who repeatedly violate the terms of service, and introducing an AI Speech Classifier, an API-based detection tool developed to identify AI-generated content uploaded to the platform.
Staniszewski recognizes the importance of transparency and education regarding generative AI platforms and the existence of AI-generated content. The voluntary AI Speech Classifier serves as a step toward promoting responsible use of generative media and assisting users in identifying AI-generated content accurately.
However, aside from addressing concerns related to content misuse, ElevenLabs has yet to tackle the larger question of the potential threat its technology poses to voice actors. As the demand for synthetic voices increases, voice actors face challenges as clients seek AI-generated versions that could eventually replace them without additional compensation.