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Accel pours more money into speech-recognition platform Mihup
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Mihup Communications Pvt. Ltd, which offers a platform that recognises speech in English, Hindi and Bengali, on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 12.5 crore ($1.8 million at current exchange rate) from new investor Ideaspring Capital and existing investor Accel.

The funding will help the company add more Indian languages to its platform, said Biplab Chakraborty, co-founder and chief operating officer. The company said in a statement it also supports mixed-language recognition such as Hinglish, a mix of Hindi and English.

The startup was launched in 2014 with a beta-stage application by engineers Chakraborty, Tapan Barman, and Sandipan Mandal. Then it was an on-demand platform that provided information on travel, sport, news, entertainment, restaurants and more. In 2017, the company pivoted to a business-to-business model to provide voice-recognition-based interfaces for devices and applications.

In 2016, Mihup secured funding worth over Rs 45 crore ($6.7 million) from Accel.

Mihup says that its solutions have use cases in media and entertainment, consumer electronics, Internet of Things, retail and e-commerce, automotive, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), and others.

Mihup's platform can work on Edge devices and in low-connectivity environments, making it suitable for use cases such as car control, media and entertainment and customer call analysis, the statement said.

Naganand Doraswamy, managing director, Ideaspring Capital, said that voice as a medium is seeing an increasing demand in not only consumer applications but in enterprise applications as well.

He added, "Advances in voice recognition and translation technology and the advent of language-agnostic internet will drive this trend. For example, the voice recognition system market for automotive and call centre is projected to be the fastest-growing market in Asia."

Investors

Ideaspring Capital's Rs 125 crore early-stage fund was launched in April 2016 by angel investors Doraswamy and Prashant Deshpande; Amit and Arihant Patni, sons of Gajendra Patni, co-founder of Patni Computer Systems Ltd; and others.

It invests in enterprise-tech startups offering solutions in machine learning and deep learning, computer vision and image processing, Big Data analytics, Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, health-tech and fin-tech.

Ideaspring's investments include those in security compliance firm Spanugo, artificial intelligence startup Peritus.ai, workflow management startup Zapty, augmented reality startup Whodat and enterprise networking startup Lavelle Networks.

Accel, an early backer of leading internet companies including Flipkart and Freshworks Inc., has been one of the most active venture capital firms in India.

The venture capital firm retained its status as one of the most active venture capital investors last year as it settled for second spot behind Sequoia Capital with 24 deals compared with 38 in 2017.

Accel’s bets this year include field service management startup Zinier and blockchain-based loan facilitator StreamSource.

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