Irish start-up that builds ‘Siri for businesses’ opens first UK office

14 Sep 2017

Person using voice recognition search. Image: graphbottles/Shutterstock

An Irish start-up that develops voice-recognition tech for businesses is expanding across the Irish Sea to set up an office in Edinburgh.

As Google, Apple and Amazon have shown, voice recognition and voice search is one of the biggest growth areas in tech in recent years, with many now doing their online shopping and searching over devices such as Echo or Home.

Now, an Irish start-up called Voysis is looking to lead this charge with third-party enterprises, announcing that it is to expand from its Dublin headquarters and open a new office in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

According to The Irish Times, the office will house 10 staff and will be led by Ian Hodson, a man who was previously Google’s head of text-to-speech programming for integration into the company’s core apps.

The news comes a number of months after Voysis, led by neural network researcher Peter Cahill, revealed that it had raised $8m in Series A financing with help from Polaris Partners. With this funding in the bank, it opened its first office outside of Ireland in Boston.

Voysis’ business model is to help companies create their own voice-recognition tools to allow someone search their site with voice, in the same way that someone would use Siri to search for something online, or for a function on an Apple device.

Creating APIs

“We believe that voice-driven natural language interfaces will change the way people interact with consumer and enterprise-facing applications by creating more intuitive, efficient and personalised experiences,” Voysis said on its website.

“We believe Voysis is the complete voice AI platform that will play a key role in bringing about this change.”

Speaking with TechCrunch earlier this year, Cahill said that the end goal when working with a client is to create APIs for them to build their own voice-search platforms.

“If we’re working with our first company or two within a vertical, we tend to be fairly hands-on, because we’re learning what their requirements are,” he said.

“But our focus is always really on making it available where people just use APIs, and just push their data to our servers and then have a voice assistant that’s relevant to them.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic