Dr Martyn Farrows takes over as CEO of SoapBox Labs

6 May 2021

Dr Patricia Scanlon and Dr Martyn Farrows. Image: SoapBox Labs

SoapBox Labs founder Dr Patricia Scanlon will serve as executive chair following the change-up, setting the company’s future strategy and vision.

Irish company SoapBox Labs has signalled a new phase of growth with the appointment of Dr Martyn Farrows as CEO, effective immediately.

Farrows joined SoapBox Labs in 2017 as chief operations officer. Since then he has led operations, business development and strategic partnerships at the company.

Dr Patricia Scanlon, who founded SoapBox Labs in 2013 based on her own research into speech technology and the opportunity she saw in developing this tech for children, has stepped away from the CEO role to become executive chair. In this position, she will drive the company’s future vision and strategy.

“Martyn is a proven technology leader and operator. His energy, insight and unmatched knowledge of our technology, customers and markets will accelerate our growth during this important new phase of the company,” said Scanlon.

‘The coming years will see us expand rapidly and deepen our leadership position as the voice solution of choice for the classroom and consumer markets’

This new phase for SoapBox Labs sees the voice technology company poised for growth in a new market.

The company set out to develop accurate and secure voice technology for children and has established itself with key partnerships in education, including with the Florida Center for Reading Research and with New York edtech firm Amplify.

This branch of the business will continue to develop solutions focused on literacy, language learning, dyslexia screening and speech therapy, while a new consumer-focused arm of the business will drive SoapBox Play. Development here will focus on voice-enabled children’s games, toys and entertainment applications for the home and consumer market.

“SoapBox Labs is an established leader in the education market, but when it comes to fulfilling our mission to radically transform how kids interact with technology, we’re still just getting started,” said Scanlon. “I’m excited to focus on that mission and to drive forward the future technology innovation, vision and strategy of the company.”

Setting out on this new roadmap, SoapBox Labs is expected to announce a number of new client deals and partnership as well as its first consumer solutions for apps, toys, games and robots.

The company is also looking to grow its team, expecting to scale from 30 to 80 employees over next two years. Headquartered in Dublin, SoapBox Labs recently established an office in the US.

“With so many new opportunities before us, we are fortunate to have Patricia’s creativity and technical expertise driving the next phase of our innovation and strategy,” said Farrows.

“I’m thrilled to take the helm at such an important juncture in our development. The coming years will see us expand rapidly and deepen our leadership position as the voice solution of choice for the classroom and consumer markets.”

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.