Words are more powerful when spoken rather than read. But while voice can transform written content with nuance, emotion, personality, and sentiment, achieving this effect on a large scale can be difficult. Not everyone has the confidence or ability to speak effectively – and the sheer volume of written content that potentially requires audio is huge.
This is where Murf AI comes in. Synthetic speech start-up Murf today announces the success of a $10 million Series A funding round as it seeks to accelerate its already rapid growth. The funding comes just 16 months after the company’s $1.5 million seed funding round.
“So much content goes without audio,” says Sneha Roy, who co-founded Murf just two years ago with college friends Ankur Edkie and Divyanshu Pandey. “Our goal is to make voiceovers accessible to everyone who creates content.”
To do this, Murf worked with professional voice actors, recording their lyrics to provide a training audio dataset for its proprietary artificial intelligence tools. Thanks to this technology, the company has been able to develop a range of more than 120 voices in more than 20 languages. Content creators simply choose the voice they want and Murf’s tool can then turn their written text into audio using that voice.
“Technology has evolved very quickly,” says Edkie. “We’ve developed something that’s very close to the human voice – it’s almost indistinguishable.”
Murf sees a range of different target audiences for his services. The e-learning market is a major source of customers, with training and development providers using its tools to create much more engaging course content. Advertising and marketing functions are another example where the technology has obvious applications, allowing material to be created much faster and at lower cost. And Murf also works with many individual creators – writers, podcasters, and YouTubers, for example, all of whom are looking to create audio content but don’t have the confidence or ability to do so on their own.
Independent research suggests the opportunity is huge. The global text-to-speech market is expected to reach $7.06 billion by 2028, suggesting growth of nearly 15% per year. Separately, the voiceover and dubbing market is expected to generate $8 billion in annual sales by 2027.
“Synthetic media is set to become ubiquitous in the near future and voice is at its heart,” says Edkie. “We continue to advance our voice technology to bring the diverse capabilities of talented voice actors within reach of our customers.”
Murf sees his proposal as a win-win solution for all parties involved. Customers can create all the audio content they need without having to pay for specialized equipment or time in a recording studio. And the voice actors also get paid, earning royalties every time a Murf client uses their voice.
The tools are available through a software-as-a-service model, with Murf offering a range of pricing plans aimed at different types of users. Individual creators with more modest needs pay as little as $19 per month to access the technology, while larger companies and enterprises pay more.
This model seems to be working well for Murf, which recently saw the millionth completed voice project on its platform. Sales have increased 22-fold since the company’s funding round. “We’re just getting started, but we’re also seeing huge organic interest from website visits,” Roy says.
Murf’s latest fundraiser will provide crucial funding for further product development. In particular, the company is keen to increase the range of voices it has available to customers, offering a more diverse selection, and is also working on a number of new features and improvements.
The Series A round is led by Matrix Partners India, with participation from existing investor Elevation Capital, as well as a number of leading angel investors.
“We strongly believe that AI will reinvent every market and Murf is reinventing a multi-billion dollar category with its AI voiceover technology,” said Pranay Desai, Director of Matrix India. “Creating voiceovers is tough, and Murf’s unique IP makes it easy for every individual to create emotional, theatrical voiceovers – faster, better, and cheaper.”