Synthetic voice startup ElevenLabs has raised $80 million in a Series B funding round led by top VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the company at over $1 billion. The sizable investment cements ElevenLabs’ position as a leader in AI-powered speech generation technology.
Founded just over a year ago, ElevenLabs offers browser-based tools to create lifelike synthetic voices that can be customized and used for text-to-speech across media forms like audiobooks, games, film dubbing and more. The new funding will aid further product development and expanded infrastructure to meet rising demand.
- ElevenLabs raised $80M round, reaches $1B+ valuation
- Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital among lead investors
- Funding to aid product development, team growth to 100+
- Flagship app clones voices for text-to-speech uses
- Creating voice dubbing, audiobook and game character tools
- Criticized for enabling voice misuse, actor consent issues
- Attempting improvements in ethics, consent policies
The company has quickly won major customers like Paradox Interactive and The Washington Post for its voice cloning capabilities. But ElevenLabs has also faced backlash over misuse of its tech to spread harmful content by mimicking others’ voices without consent. In response, the startup is working on detection tools to identify synthetic speech and address ethical concerns.
Additionally, some voice actors argue ElevenLabs’ technology poses an existential threat to voice acting jobs. They also claim the company has used voice samples without permission. ElevenLabs aims to compensate voice creators via a new marketplace for sharing verified voice profiles.
With top-tier funding and surging demand for voice tech in digital media, ElevenLabs seems positioned to thrive. However, continued ethical controversies could impact adoption if misuse and consent issues aren’t adequately resolved. As a freshly-minted unicorn pursuing rapid growth, the company faces rising expectations to ensure its voice cloning innovations aren’t abused or detrimental to the creative industries underlying them.